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Families Increasingly Plan to Opt Out of State Testing

Confusion abounds about what happens next for those refusing to take standardized exams.

Written by John Mooney/NJ Spotlight

It started with a trickle a few years ago, and it may still be only a small stream, but more and more New Jersey families appear intent on opting to have their children not take the state’s standardized tests.

Nearly 700 people have signed onto a Facebook group called “Opt-Out of State Standardized Tests -- New Jersey,” reflecting the mounting criticism to the increased reliance on standardized testing not just in New Jersey but nationwide.

Earlier this month, Newsday reported more than 5,500 Long Island students had opted out of New York State’s tests, which have been particularly controversial.

And while the New Jersey protesters still represent just a tiny fraction of the number of students taking the tests, perhaps the clearest evidence of the growing opposition came in the last few weeks as the state Department of Education started advising school districts on how to deal with students opting out of the state’s upcoming NJASK tests.

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Lori Anne April 25, 2014 at 05:02 PM
The CC is also the floor for the standards. A school district can offer classes for students that want a more advanced class. Just like they always have. It's a standard for where the students should be at the end of each grade. If the students take a harder class and are above the minimum standard, they have that option.
Gretchen April 25, 2014 at 06:24 PM
Lori Anne makes some good points. Teachers aren't taking dictation from Common Core and reciting it to the kids. In their own classrooms teachers can still set the curriculum and find the best methods to reach students and help them be successful.
Pete Mock April 27, 2014 at 09:19 AM
Lori, I'm pretty sure the State of NJ is in charge of setting curriculum standards, not the local boards. Gretchen, I don't believe teachers set the curriculum and choose teaching methods in their classroom. Teachers may participate with a curriculum director or whoever is responsible to create curriculum content for their school based on the standards adopted by the state. From the State of NJ... "New Jersey's standards were created to improve student achievement by clearly defining what all students should know and be able to do at the end of thirteen years of public education...To assist teachers and curriculum specialists in aligning curriculum with the standards, the department provided local school districts with a curriculum framework for each content area. The frameworks provided classroom teachers and curriculum specialists with sample teaching strategies, adaptations, and background information relevant to each of the content areas."
Lori Anne April 28, 2014 at 06:19 PM
Pete, your post proved her point. They provide "sample" teaching strategies and adaptations. Not verbatim instructions of this is how you must do it.
Rick Alonso April 29, 2014 at 08:45 PM
Lori and Gretchen, I understand how you feel. We all want our kids to perform at the highest standards possible. Sure it sounds great to say it and repeat the talking points, but does CC really perform the way it's advertised? I've read several reports and studies from MIT and Brown (to name a few) that show CC is anything other than rigorous and not getting our children college ready. Please do me a favor, clear your mind of anything you heard about CC then visit my fb site End Common Core in New Jersey and begin to start reading the information posted there. I also wrote an article last week http://thealternativepress.com/towns/west-essex/articles/a-parents-choice-to-opt-out-slash-refuse-to-take-nj. As a result, of this article, parents are not only starting to realize the dangers of CC,but are Refusing their children to take the NJ ASK. The article does not address Common Core specifically, but moving forward I will share my findings with the Caldwell patch (on my education blog) and other media outlets to help parents make an informed decision. I understand this is a personal issue so I am presenting facts and letting you decide. I'm trying to work out a date to have a town hall meeting at the West Caldwell Library so I can share my findings with the public and answer as many questions as I can on PARCC and CC. Our education system is one of the most important topics we can discuss as a nation, but it needs to be an adult conversation. Name calling and closing our minds to opposite points-of-view is not the way to have it; I include myself in that as well.

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