This month and next, all around the country, children in various grades will be subjected to state and government mandated standardized tests. Some of these are the most infamous and panic-inducing names and acronyms ever to enter a classroom. Regents. MCAS. FCAT. I-STEP+. MontCas. NECAP. STAAR. WESTEST. PAWS. Finally, the Common Core aligned PARCC (pronounced “park”).
Standardized testing is nothing new to me, as I spent a week every other year since first grade doing the Iowas, or the CAT-5s, and then switching over to the state-sanctioned standardized test when it was approved. Mine was the last class that didn’t need to pass it to graduate, and as I was out on medical leave the year it was given to my class, I never even saw the test. I made up for my lack of standardized testing with two rounds of PSATs and 2 rounds of SATs, just to be on the safe side. Since my own high school days, nothing has driven teachers, staff, and students into a bigger frenzy than testing season.
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and guardians, this is where you come in:
The PARCC testing is not mandatory. You may opt your child out of these tests at any time.
In my state, the education commissioner sent out a memo last year that although not highly publicized, reminded building administrators that parents did have a right to instruct their child not to take the test and to provide an alternate educational setting. The only tests the students need to take are, like in New York, the Regents required for graduation in English, math, and science. To opt your student out, a simple letter stating that you have told your child not to take the test and a simple, polite request to the building principal for separate work is all it takes. Please do your research and Google “opt-out, PARCC”. It’s so easy to find the material. Not only will you save yourself and your child a lot of hassle, but you will be pushing back against the Education Establishment and reining some degree of control back into your life and family.