Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Student Suspended For Opting Out Of Assessment Test

More negative news for the testing regime:

An Alabama teen says she was suspended from school after she refused to take a local assessment test, contrary to an earlier report from WAAY-TV that the test was aligned with the state's Common Core curriculum.

Alyssa McKinney, an eighth-grade student at Whitesburg Middle School in Huntsville, Ala., told the station she was given two in-school suspensions after telling school officials that she didn’t want to take any more standardized tests and opted out, believing she that was an option.

WAAY had reported earlier Tuesday that McKinney was suspended for opting out of a test related to Alabama's Common core program, which allows students that option.

A Department of Education spokeswoman told the station parents can choose not to have their child take part in state standardized testing  if they put their refusal in writing and give it to their school.

I understand the school is saying they have a process for opting out and this student didn't follow that process so she received in-school suspension.

Nonetheless this is the kind of response that ultimately helps the opt out movement because it comes across as heavy-handed and unnecessary.


  1. Not sure I agree with your assessment. It's up to the parent, not the student to make that decision. And, no students should have that power. The opt - out process should be followed. A student being defiant just because its a Common Core test doesn't cut the muster here.

    1. I think you underestimate how much anger and frustration children are feeling over all the standardized tests they have had to take over the course of this last year. The story indicates that was what this student was feeling. I noted that the process wasn't followed and I get that point, but I think two days in-house suspension for her refusal to take the test is heavy-handed. It's clearly being done to make sure no other students follow this student's lead. Also being done to crush her spirit. But this kind of heavy-handedness in the end will cause more problems in the end. Do you think her spirit was crushed by the suspensions?

    2. Of course I know that, and to imply I don't when I have been fighting for more parents to opt out is not a logical argument. We don't know the whole story here. But, what you are implying is giving any student the right to do whatever they want. I think this story is an overreach for your point. And yes, if that student was in any way disruptive, suspension was called for. But there are so many better arguments to make about crushing the spirit of students through these reforms. I know you are not on FB otherwise you would know how hard I fight for almost everything you write about. But I can never condone any student not following the proper protocol. Her parents are the ones to have to make this call. And, they had that right according to your post. So if this story was that she was suspended after her parents opted her out, I would be putting this story up on my Education page and supporting your view.

    3. I think what I was trying to say was, I understand that student's frustration, I have seen it in my own students, and while the official opt-out process was not followed here, I think the school might have found another way to deal with this that garnered less publicity.

      In the end, it just adds another "too much testing..." story to the media zeitgeist, which doesn't help the accountability movement so much.

      That's all I really wanted to say here. If anything else came out in the post, than it comes from my imprecise writing. Alas, I've got a lot going on these days and don't always do as clear a job of writing posts or commenting on stories I post as I'd like to do.

    4. I truly understand, and that's why I called this to your attention because it's important to get all the facts because a story like this can also hurt the cause.

      As for your new post, did you not see today's article in the Times where deBlasio states there will be healthcare changes. Just because it isn't in the contract doesn't mean Mulgrew and dB haven't made a deal that doesn't include rank and file. The article is pretty straight forward that this is the direction dB is going to take.