Teacher: Opt-out movement in testing creates culture of disrespect in classroom

Why do kids contend their AP or IB exams have material they never covered in class?

Last night, I posted a long piece by a Georgia parent on why she was opting her third-grader out of state tests this year.

Take a look if you did not read the piece. The parent is not opposed to testing, but faults the design and length of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System.

I received her essay the same day as getting a note from a Georgia teacher questioning the opt-out movement and what it communicates to students. The teacher worries the movement is creating a culture of disrespect in the classroom, and she believes it’s the wrong response to assessment reform. With her permission, I am sharing her comments below.

The opt-out movement is strongest in New York and California. It is a fledgling movement in Georgia. My AJC colleague Eric Stirgus reports only 75 Gwinnett students out of the 76,000 taking Milestones this month opted out of the testing. Several metro parents have sent me notes to report stern warnings from their school systems about the consequences of opting out, which they say discourages them from doing so. In DeKalb, 19 students out of 80,000 opted out of testing this week, according to the district.

My district never made a big deal of state tests, whether CRCT or Milestones. No pep rallies. No exhaustive prep. No drill-and-kill. As a result, I’ve treated standardized state exams as practice for the consequential tests awaiting my kids in high school  — college admissions and AP and IB tests.

But I didn’t have kids who lost sleep over the tests. Had the Milestones or CRCTs stressed and overwhelmed my children, I may have felt differently. While I’ve talked to teachers who say they rarely have students in tears or vomiting over tests, I’ve also met teachers who have seen both and say it’s not pretty.

With that background, here is what the teacher wrote:

The fever pitch of the opt-outers is driving me nuts.

Our promotion criteria says the test is used for promotion in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade. So, yes, we tell kids they have to pass the test to be promoted. That’s not bullying or lies. That’s the truth. I understand that a parent has a right to opt-out. I understand that a parent has a right to appeal a retention decision. Those are rare cases.

These people are creating a culture where it’s normal for students to walk into our classrooms and challenge our authority. I hear it every day. It gets louder and louder every year. “I don’t have to take that test. I don’t have to pass. I don’t have to do that work. My mom will just schedule a meeting at the end of the year and force the school to do what I want.”

This is why classrooms are out of control. This is why teachers feel disrespected. This is why teachers leave the profession.

These opt-outers think they are leading a fight to save Georgia. Sadly, no. They are ruining the next generation in the process. Children should not be used as a pawn in a fictitious boycott against a company.

The opt-outers keep citing outlandish stories of test anxiety and kids soiling pants and such. In all my years of teaching, I have seen no such thing. Yes, we do test prep. The kids who care ask for it. A little bit of nervousness before a big test is normal. Our theater teacher has a saying, “If you’re not nervous before a show, something is wrong.” The same rule applies here.

To try to understand their side, I’ve been reading the posts and comments on the Opt-Out Facebook group (Because, let’s be honest, Milestones is not perfect, and there are a few scenarios where I can understand opting out based on medical needs.) I saw frequent posts that were misleading, misquoted, and rebel rousing.

I have several friends who repost the Opt-Out comments and material. Again, I question. Those friends told me to stop. It seems this group only wants to discuss one side.

I would be very interested to see the AJC investigate the group and the claims. I would be very interested to see some stories reflecting both sides of the argument. I would love to see high-stakes testing go away just as much as the next educator.

But this is not the way. It is ruining the culture in our schools.

Reader Comments 0

131 comments
Kathy Brown
Kathy Brown

I think the opt out clause and LOCAL BOARD mandates and policies have PUT teachers in the middle of the struggle. If the Local BOE is going to calculate high stakes test into a teacher's evaluation and then tie that to pay then what happens to the teacher when enough kids' parents insist on opting out? Teachers are not policy makers, but they are caught in the middle and like everything else, the kids are the ones who suffer in the end.

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

From a GA parent: My son's school has now moved fifth grade graduation up because the school's CCRPI score is so low that the students will be required to retake the Milestones on the last two days of school. They haven't even finished the first Milestones testing and they're already being told they will have to retake them. Is anyone else getting that message?

Kacy Killingsworth Chamblee
Kacy Killingsworth Chamblee

Disrespect is when your employer uses test grades of children to determine your job retention. Not ALL children will perform well on these tests due to learning styles and strengths. There are some very bright children that will never test well and you say that the parents are responsible for the disrespect you are experiencing as a teacher??? Who encouraged you to write this, Pearson or the state????? Also, I am appalled at how many times North Fulton has been cited as evidence that this is a non-issue. What about the inner city children?????

Tom Green
Tom Green

Disrespect was after you've put yourself through 7 years of college, the state thinks your student surveys should account for about 1/3 of your evaluation. Who thought it was a great idea for kids in third grade to evaluate people with advanced degrees(BTW my student surveys were always great)?

teachermom4
teachermom4

In the 3 years since Milestones was implemented, I've had one child opt out. Although not encouraged by the parents, the child did slack off on work and stopped doing any work she perceived as test preparation. She didn't think she needed to do anything that might remotely help with the test. It was annoying, but after the test, it was over. 

gapeach101
gapeach101

I live in the northern district of APS.  The vast majority of students come from well to do families.  When it comes to standardized testing it generally is not a problem in this demographic.

When my eldest was in FIRST grade she started acting truly weird, enough so that I went into school to ask the teacher if she had any idea what might be going on.  The teacher explained to me they would be testing next week and she (the teacher) had not slept in two weeks, and and and....   No wonder my child was fraught.  Her teacher was nuts.   And this in a school where most kids are not challenged by year end tests.

So, it become a great time of year for us.  After school cookies, no homework, something to look forward to, instead of feared.

Kimberly Breyer
Kimberly Breyer

Opting out is NOT why classrooms are out of control. 1% of 76,000 is 760. Yet only 75 students in Gwinnett County's 139 schools opted-out. You cannot blame those 75 students for why teachers feel disrespected. These students are NOT the reason why teachers leave the profession. Your numbers do NOT support your claim!!

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

Well now, here's your "culture of disrespect": standardized tests that are used to determine whether or not students are promoted to the next grade.  When I received  a BS in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech, it was not considered necessary to give me a graduation test to see if I had actually been taught mathematics. The passing grades I earned from my professors were considered sufficient proof of my knowledge and skills.


High stakes tests that are used to determine whether or not students are promoted constitute an institutionalized view that students' passing grades from their teachers lack sufficient validity to be used as the sole criteria for promotion.  THAT's the lack of respect that would concern me if I taught in public school.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Teachers regularly inflate grades and they are often made to give grades by their principals.

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@class80olddog I sure would like to know where you get your information.  I have NEVER told a teacher to give a child a particular grade, nor do I know any principals who have.  We spend many hours looking at grades, progress, data, etc. to determine what to teach or reteach, which teachers need to change their strategies and which children need to be retained.  None of these decisions are made with any intent other than to do what is right for children.  

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

"None of these decisions are made with any intent other than to do what is right for children."



Good one!  ROFLMAO!! You, sir or madam, may be a paragon of integrity and public service.  


However, please allow me to retort, just for instance, with the number "10".  



That's the number of APS professional educators sent up the river in the Atlanta cheating scandal. Unfortunately, there are plenty more where they came from.

Some criminal.  Some just education lifers hanging in there trying to make it to retirement without ticking off the wrong parents.  



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Public_Schools_cheating_scandal


elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@AlreadySheared But, sir or madam, I do not KNOW these principals.  But I do know lots of principals - the majority of whom are honest people who truly want to do what is best for children.  Don't let the few influence your opinion of the many.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

Unfortunately, teachers' grades have been shown to have a systematic lack of validity. That is the real reason we have to have standardized testing.

Zzyzxman123
Zzyzxman123

That is such bull!!!   We over test our kids, kids are getting sick over it and teachers are teaching to the tests!  Its a complete mess.... 

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

Partly agree with the article but the "culture of disrespect" has been around for a while and is only growing larger. It's not just education either...

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

If children are being disrespectful in the classroom, it isn't because their parents refused a crappy test on their behalf. It starts long before that. Refusing Milestones does not equate to "You don't have to listen to that dumb teacher! Do what you want." Do you think refusing the scoliosis screening performed by barely-trained parents is the equivalent of telling your child that they don't have to listen to the nurse? Of course not. If you refuse sex education, does that give your child license to turn around and shoot the bird at the science teacher? No. Parents have the moral authority and the legal ability to decide for themselves what is appropriate and in the best interest of their children. Good manners and respect do not happen because parents blindly accept decisions others make for their kids. It is taught by parents and earned by the schools. When children see that their teacher has their best interests at heart, they will afford the teacher all due respect. That how humans do it. If a teacher was telling my child, erroneously, that if they don't pass the test, they will repeat the grade, then heck yes. I will tell my child the truth about that, rather than let his anxiety take over. Schools allowing children to feel stressed over a falsehood, just so they will try harder, is abusive and wrong.

Allison Boston Sparks
Allison Boston Sparks

Aaanndd she lost me at "rebel rousing". Perhaps we need to subject teachers to a more stringent test before allowing them in a classroom. There is an appropriate need for a brief standardized test (ITBS) but that's it. The Milestones is 2 solid weeks of testing. Children do throw up, wet their pants, cry. Administrators don't know how to administer the test properly. Questions have no correct answers at times. It isn't graded in a timely fashion or by individuals who know the material. And yes, even when the children fail, if they have passed their course work, they will be promoted because every school system knows that they don't have the money to fight an unwinnable case. Students come to school even when sick in order to take the test because the school blackmails them by holding make-up days on Field Days and field trip days. So, because the school systems and legislators can't police themselves and are beholden to lobbyists, I have no problem with parents doing what they need to with regards to their child. It is perfectly possible to opt out and explain to a child why you are holding them out on testing days without disrespecting the learning environment or the teacher. Children are capable of understanding that. Children aren't stupid.

Christina Thompson
Christina Thompson

The test has neither been validated or found reliable. We want to see the full studies. Otherwise school systems are breaking the law under sb364. If you have nothing to hide hide nothing. Schools need to be transparent. Our children are not your hostages. My child will not be complicit in your law breaking. She is not a hostage. And she will not be your money maker.

Hardendorf
Hardendorf

I get the feeling that it's the corporate/government power structure that is not respecting this teacher and  she's just passing this on to the students opting out.  Universal testing is done not for accountability but for the testing companies to make money.  There was once something called grades that provided accountability.  If you don't think teacher grades are accurate do random sampling testing.  If the same process was used for restaurants, all restaurants  would close down for two weeks then the wait staff would inspect the kitchens to make sure there were no health violations.  This is no way to run a business.

Elisa Maria Chiara
Elisa Maria Chiara

Nope! Nope! AND nope again! The decision to opt out or not has NOTHING to do with the culture of disrespect that permeates our schools. It starts at home when parents and/or other significant adults in the lives of the children DO NOT teach, model, and expect them to be respectful. But like anything else these days, it's easier to blame it on public education than look for the root causes. On top of that, those parents/guardians who make the decision to OO their students are usually the more engaged and involved in their children education. Let's not start an argument on the causes of parental lack of engagement right now but what I did find when I used to teach public school was that the parents that were the least engaged with their children education AS WELL AS the ones who came to me with the preset attitude that "it was on me to fix" any and all academic, developmental, etc. gap the child presented when s/he walked into our classroom while THEIR ROLE was to whip ME into shape in front of child AND admins weren't exactly the ones who opted out \U0001f610: some of those parents barely knew when testing was scheduled anyway... And on a couple of occasions, I have been told by a parental unit that it wasn't "their problem" if testing could only occur during a time window that coincided with their x extracurricular but it was MY FAULT if their student couldn't make up the test at the most convenient time for the family). Talk to me about what fosters respect and what doesn't again?

proudparent01
proudparent01

Parents who think their babies can't handle a test are creating snowflakes that won't be able to deal with life. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

By the way, just to clarify a common misconception:  yes a parent has the right to challenge a retention.  But Georgia law says in that case there is a meeting of the Parent, the teacher, and the Principal.  If a child is to be promoted, there has to be UNANIMOUS consent of the three.  That means the teacher has an absolute veto if the child is not ready for the next grade.  Now in practice, the Principal controls the teacher (you go my way or the highway!) and the Principal wants the student out of that grade (so he/she looks good), so the child gets promoted.  And then fails the next year, and the next, and the next and eventually drops out.

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@class80olddog How does promoting a child who is not ready make me look good?  


Retention is not good for children.  Social promotion is not good for children.  Often, we are just choosing the lesser of two evils.  Do your research and quit spewing your venom against us without understanding the quandary we face.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

If the Milestones are truly created as gateway tests for promotion to the next grade in the third, fifth and seventh grades, then enforce that. You can opt out, but your child gets retained.  Go ahead, make my day!  All we need is for the Administrators to grow some gonads.

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@class80olddog But these tests, nor the administration of these tests, are valid or reliable.  I agree with you (GASP!) that the ITBS would be a much more valid measure of growth.  We should give it the first week of school and the last week of school.  Makes more sense than anything we are doing now.

Jordan Knight
Jordan Knight

Screw that. Opt out. End state testing. Resist government control of our children.

BobtheBiker
BobtheBiker

I have my choice of cars, burgers, shoes, etc. These things present few problems because competition quickly fixes flaws. But where there is little or no choice, I always have problems. Close all public schools. Shop for schools the way you shop for college, pizza, etc.

Kimberly Breyer
Kimberly Breyer

To the author of this article… the numbers your colleague provided do NOT support your claim that the opt-out movement is creating a culture of disrespect in classroom. Using the numbers Mr. Stirgus provided you, in Gwinnett County’s 139 schools there were 75 out of 76,000 students who opted out… this works out to be less than 1% of their student body opting out. HOW can you blame the rampant issue of disrespect in the classroom to a group of students who represent less than 1% of a student population??? Your claim is NOT credible!!

Stacey Freeman Gyorgyi
Stacey Freeman Gyorgyi

Keith Farner of the Gwinnett Daily Post wrote the original article. I challenged him to go back to GCPS again. The numbers are higher. We had 17 in ONE elementary school.

Ricardo Cortez
Ricardo Cortez

I REFUSED the tests this year for both of my sons...as I have done each year in the past. I do not need to justify my decision to a failing newspaper with an agenda. However, for those parents on the fence, those parents who never realized that you COULD refuse the testing for your child, for the children who suffer through inadequate classes due to the fact teachers are making the students PREPARE for the test and not actually teaching, for the teachers who hate their jobs because they do not get credit for raising the reading level of a 5th grader from 2nd grade to a 4th grade level (an incredible achievement!), for the U.S. citizens (adult and child both) who have their privacy stripped with the information collected going to unknown (sometimes foreign)entities...I will tell you that this article is indoctrination of the worst kind. Learn about the truth behind this testing, this monstrosity of a construct, created to quell the desire to learn in our children before passing judgement on the parents who choose to "refuse the test" for their children. You have the final say in how your children are raised. You have the final say in what is acceptable for your children's educations.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I think both are symptoms, not causes.

Freethinkethman
Freethinkethman

The teacher uses a phrase, "rebel rousing."

Should be, "rabble-rousing."

Mysticalpoet
Mysticalpoet

Would you hand a first grader a test for 4th grade? What about a second grader? Well that is basically what they are doing to my 11 year old daughter that is in 4th grade and reads and does math on a 1st/2nd grade level then they tell her she has to pass and it has caused her to have headaches so bad she is throwing up every morning before school. My 7th grader came home today in tears, because she said she bombed the writing part today and that she just froze on it and it stressed her out so bad. My kids know my feelings about these test and how they do not measure their true self. But they also know they would never be allowed to disrespect anyone and esp a teacher. I have the utmost respect for anyone that deals with children everyday. But I have no respect for test that are not fairly given to our kids. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Mysticalpoet Forgive me for being blunt, but why is your daughter in the 4th grade if she is doing 1st - 2nd grade work?  She should be in the 2nd grade.  Also, why is your 11-year old in 4th grade?  Why did she fail the 1st and 2nd and get socially promoted?  At what school did they socially promote her even though she could not do 4th grade work?  This is the essence of the problem in public traditional schools.  

teachermom4
teachermom4

@class80olddog @Mysticalpoet I don't know this parent, but I do know that SPED students have to take the same tests as regular ed students. If I had to guess, I might think the child was retained before being identified as learning disabled or something else. Kids in those circumstances are required to take the same tests as their age/grade peers. I may be wrong about this particular child, but this situation is totally plausible.

Starik
Starik

If the teacher is bad, why fake respect? Is it disrespect to tell a teacher that Waterloo is in Belgium, not Russia?

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

Here are my questions: Does this begin with kids or parents? And is it about young kids rather than middle schoolers? Is it about preparation or about the tests? I ask because of an experience I had a few years ago where I interviewed a bunch of bright middle schoolers from north Fulton about the controversy over the difficulty of the EOC math test and the record failure rates in some schools. These kids were in advanced math so they were taking an EOC test. They were stunned anyone found the test challenging. They felt it was just one more math test. They weren’t worried about it, and they all did fine. In fact, they never felt any of the state tests were taxing, even the ones they took as younger students.

Nicole Madeline Powell
Nicole Madeline Powell

A friend of my daughter's had chest pains during milestones this year. The teacher said he had to wait til the test was finished to go to the nurse. Then he went to nurse and was told he couldn't leave til after lunch. The doctor confirmed it was anxiety from the tests. But what if it was something more? What if he needed medical attention. There are kids peeing their pants, crying bc they are afraid they won't go to the next grade. The teachers are telling them they won't if they don't pass. Kids are bullying the kids that have refused the tests and the teachers aren't doing anything. The milestones need to go

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

Also, why has the cut score been different every year? Why the moving target? The whole thing is a farce.

Janine Za
Janine Za

You mean the Craigslist part timers...?

Janine Za
Janine Za

... it's about the part time Craigslist employees grading our students / children's tests, it's about the fact that the tests weren't written by teachers / educators, it's about teachers not k owing what is even on the test - despite their jobs/salaries being directly tied to their students results. Could AJC possibly have gotten this article any more one sided and completely wrong by allowing this "ghost" author to pen this completely false and factually incorrect junk article? - No, this is about as wrong as it could get....

Janine Za
Janine Za

I'll pick one that you didn't mention --- We want you to teach the CHILDREN! To hell with the standards and to hell with common core. You can't teach standards and standardize test and preach that you offer "differential Learning". It's BS. Kids aren't "standard". If you are a teacher in such a great school and you support common core and testing, you are part of the problem and the abuse being afflicted upon our kids. Time to wake up. - I find it completely fascinating and completely tragic that you mentioned "teaching to the standards or teaching to the test" and completely FAILED to mention the kids as part of the equation. That right there is a prime example of the problem with our education system today.

Janine Za
Janine Za

Where did you sample your kids? Did you also question the struggling students? The ones with high test anxiety? The special ed kids who were forced to also test despite it being completely out of their learning abilities? It's easy to interview "bright" advanced math students but your creating an invalid control. Ask the other kids how they feel and you'll find your results are quite different than you originally thought.

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

That is my point -- is the issue the test itself or the ability of students to do well on it? If what you are saying is correct, it's not the test that creates the stress, but the fear kids have they will not do well. Should we focus on the test or the instruction? If your point is that the test daunts struggling students, then isn't the solution doing a better job helping kids overcome the struggles?

Nicole Madeline Powell
Nicole Madeline Powell

Have you taken the milestones? Have you read the questions? Did you know a lot of the questions on there are things the students didn't learn until milestone prep time?

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

The test is the problem. A/B honor roll children being told they'll fail the year and be retained based on how they do on this one test is the problem. Kids being told their test results determine how much money their teacher makes is a problem. It leaches into what is taught, and what ISN'T taught, all year long. The test determines a teachers TEM score and the school's CCRPI scores (among other ridiculous things). This anxiety (from the adults it affects) surrounding the test rolls down hill to kids. There isn't a simple answer to your question, because in some cases, it IS about a student's inability to do well. Special Ed/Special Needs students are given the same grade level as the others in their grade. Meaning, if a Special Ed student is in 5th grade, but learning on a 3rd grade level, he IS given the same test as his General Ed and Advanced Ed peers in 5th grade. And he and his teacher and his school are held accountable to that score. Do we really need to point out what that does to that child's self-esteem? What if he and his teacher worked so hard that he advanced a year and a half that school year, but still wasn't on 5th grade material yet? Regarding instruction- our teachers only know (who REALLY knows?) that the test will be on "The standards". How far above or outside of those "standards" will a teacher go when her job depends on "just the standards"? It sets the ceiling and we don't want our children OR our teachers limited to a box of thinking, learning or teaching.

Kelli Carter
Kelli Carter

Good questions! I think the biggest controversy is with younger students and the actual tests (not the preparation).

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

We've had reports of two children who were transported by ambulance to the ER in the last week. Extreme anxiety attack.

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

Can we talk about who grades these tests? There is so much more WRONG than there is right with the entire debacle. Oh, and we had MORE counties with Internet interruptions today, but tell us again how it compares students, teachers and schools equally and fairly.

Selina Gardner
Selina Gardner

As an 8th grade teacher, I can say that it is a mixture of all of these factors. My gifted students put pressure on themselves to get top scores and do better than their classmates. My lower level learners are stressed because much of the math and writing (and sometimes reading) is too advanced, despite the teachers' best efforts, so they fear retention. However, as challenging as it can be in middle school, the required level of testing in elementary schools is the biggest concern. It is developmentally inappropriate and abusive to subject younger children to unbroken hours of testing and test prep, regardless of innate ability. Then we (teachers) are often ridiculously pressured for all kids to excel, to the point that it can be difficult to keep our stress from affecting the kids. Of course, principals are under even more test result pressure than teachers, so their stress affects us. Then there is the mandate for online testing, which delayed my entire school over an hour this morning because the system crashed. How much worse is that in rural districts with less bandwidth or unstable internet?

Amy Sims Austin
Amy Sims Austin

The issue is multi faceted. On the one hand, you have a test that is not valaidated, norm referenced, or standardized with a 'cutoff' score that changes every year based on how students are scoring. Teachers can't see whats on the test, and they don't grade the test, and so far, the test doesn't 'drive instruction' because they don't have the scores to aid them in this process in time to even think of driving instruction. Its a vicious cycle. On another hand, you have a corporation who has created the test, numerous kits, etc that is made up of individuals who don't teach, aren't teachers and only have 'common core' curriculum to make up their tests from. They want to keep selling their test. That has created this monstrosity of a test that can take students from some systems HOURS of test time for several days in a row, then they go right back to further testing for end of grades, regular course work. etc. My son sat for 3 hours on section 1 of the math test this week. It took him 3 hours with his extended time that he is given per his IEP. He told me his brain was so fried that when he got to section 2 at 3:00 with another 2-3 hours of testing to go that he couldn't do it and just randomly selected answers and was done in 15 mins. I'm a board certified occupational therapist. My boards too less time than this and I was a full on adult with full concentration and excecutive function capacity. My son is 12 and in 6th grade. How on earth are these kids expected to do this? It's completely inappropriate. On another facet, you have the students who are told subltly, and not so subtly, that they 'must' pass this one test. That no other work or tests from the rest of the year mean more. Do good all year and its all down the toilet if you don't pass. Lets talk bell curve here. Most students fall in the middle range...avereage if you will. Good but not brilliant like your sample you interviewed. These 'average' kiddos are stresing about it. They've been told ALL year they will be measured on this test alone. And don't even get me started on kds with IEPs that may not be on 'grade level' that are tested on material they've never been taught. The test results may not direclty affect their abillity to move to the next grade, but how demoralizing is it to realize you are not getting the answers correct becuase you have no idea what the question is? Another facet is the teachers. They are bound and gagged. Not allowed to look at or discuss the test itself. they can't outwardly and out loud protest the test because this is a right to work state. They are unfairly judged based on a test they didn't create, that they can't see and have no idea whats on it, beyond the idea it tests common core curriculum. And then we have the administrators. They are beholden to a number of people for their jobs. And test scores affect their yearly reviews. So, in answer to your question, does it begin with the kids or parents? The parents. We are refusing FOR our kids and the teachers. I'm sure there may be a few bad apples out there that may show some disrespect to the teachers. Those kids are there no matter if there is a test or not. Those of us who refuse this test are not stupid. We are often very educated and well versed in what is going on. I have friends who are teachers and have heard their thoughts. I have yet to find a teacher who is pro common core or pro GMAS. Not one. So, I don't know the background of this 'educator' that posted this reply. Maybe she is just sressed out too. Maybe it just gets under her skin that there are a few kids in her class who aren't taking the test or any practice material and she's worried about how it reflects on her. Maybe these kids are standing up for themselves in inappropriate ways because they've never had the freedom to before. Or, maybe the kids have always been disrespectul. My view? Civil disobedience is not neat, pretty or clean. It involves making people uncomfortable, mad, or maybe puzzled. Either way, the Opt Out movement is here to stay and I hope it grows and grows and grows......

Kelli Carter
Kelli Carter

Amy Sims Austin I'm a teacher in a phenomenal school, and I support common core. Most of the teachers I know support common core. It relies on collaboration and creativity to solve problems and teaches kids to THINK. Isn't that the goal? And not all GMAS exams are based on common core because not all curriculums in this state are based on common core. We DO know what's on the GMAS exams - our standards tell us what's on the exams. Do you want us to teach to the standards or teach to the test? Please pick one!

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

Those are your only options? Teach to the standards or teach to the test? You're happy with that? Nothing like NOT allowing any Out Of The Box Thinking, and liking it.

Christina Thompson
Christina Thompson

It's clearly both the test and some students ability to do well. And so much more.

Christina Thompson
Christina Thompson

It's not one thing or another. It's not fix and focus on this. It's the entirety of the test, the premiss, and the atmosphere surrounding high stakes testing.

Tom Green
Tom Green

Nicole Madeline Powell Teachers could do a better job preparing students for the test if they were not under threat of losing their certificates if they so much as look at a question or have a student even tell them what kind of a question was on the test. I thought I was putting my career on the line when I asked, "How many of you thought the test was easy?'

Tom Green
Tom Green

Janine Za When your career depends on teaching to the test, you have very little choice but to do so. Teachers have been kicked out of that discussion a long time ago. You now have the best education system that politicians, lawyers and business people have devised.