Opt in or opt out, area students still lag behind

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — America has a strong, and often creative, protest tradition.

From the Boston Tea Party to civil rights sit-ins, citizens have found ways to make their voices heard with a little resistance. This spring, opponents of national school standards have found a new wedge for their issue by having students ask to opt out or refuse to take the standardized tests associated with the Common Core standards.

In our region, 200 students in Wayne County asked to “opt out” of the tests, and other scattered examples have popped up across the country, particularly in New York, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Many of the protestors object to Common Core because they view it as a way to nationalize education and bypass local control of education. Some go a step further in suggesting that it is all a plan by liberals to brainwash students to their way of thinking. In New York, however, much of the protest is coming from teacher organizations that oppose efforts to link standardized test scores and student performance to teacher evaluations.

The protests are not without consequences. If fewer than 95 percent of a school district’s students participate in tests, federal education funds could be withheld, but it is not clear if the U.S. Department of Education would actually go that far.

But at least in our region, the bigger danger is that parents, students and schools could lose sight of where we really are when it comes to student achievement…

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