PARENTS AND STUDENTS WANT CONTROL OVER STANDARDIZED TESTING MANDATES
Rally urging “opt-out” measure held at State House
AUGUSTA –Parents, students, and teachers joined Democratic State Senator Nate Libby and other lawmakers at a rally to codify parents’ rights to have their children opt-out of standardized testing.
“Teachers, parents,and students in my community are fearful, frustrated, and seeking relief from these heavy-handed testing mandates,” said Senator Libby of Lewiston. “This legislation is simple and straightforward. And, it will ensure parents and students know and understand their rights.”
Senator Libby is co-sponsoring a bill “An Act to Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments,” with Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon. The measure explicitly permits parents to have their children opt-out of standardized testing with written consent, without penalty or retribution to the student. It also requires that school districts communicate directly with parents on their rights to opt-out without penalty.
“School performance, teacher performance and student performance based so heavily on standardized testing is deeply flawed,” said Senator Libby. “We all know some students perform better than others on standardized tests and that test results do not universally reflect individual students overall academic performance.”
Under the federal mandate, No Child Left Behind, students are tested every year starting in grade 3 through grade 8. Maine is currently moving toward testing all 3rd-through 12th-graders.
Senator Libby added, “Classroom time is at a premium. State and federal mandates on classroom instruction continue to grow while teachers and students struggle to meet all the requirements in a six-hour school day.”
The state’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill, LD 695, “An Act to Empower Parents in the Education of Their Children by Allowing an Opt-out from Standardized Assessments,” in the coming weeks.