- Outgoing Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says that schools honoring parents' requests to opt their children out of the state's standardized tests do so at their own risk.
- Holliday sent a letter to district superintendents saying students who don't take the exam will get an automatic zero, which will then be averaged into their school's accountability score, which determines funding and whether or not the school stays open.
- In the email, Holliday wrote that the accountability system is dependent upon all students taking the standardized tests, which he says are meant to ensure that all students are served and any learning gaps are identified and closed.
This is exactly what people complain about when they talk about the high-stakes nature of standardized tests. There is a brewing movement right now pushing back on standardized tests and all the wasted instructional time that goes into testing, from preparation to the actual test. Now, schools need not only feel stress over test scores, but must also convince parents to opt their students back into a test that they've decided to protest, solely because the school may close if they don't.
Kentucky has become something of a Common Core golden child, so it may not be surprising that the state is pushing every angle to have everything from the curriculum to the testing pan out. That said, this does bring up questions about a parent's rights in public education. According to the Associated Press, the assistant general counsel for the education department made a statement in which he said parents can't pick and choose which schools mandates they want to follow or not, and if they do want to opt out, they have to opt out of public education completely. It will be interesting to see how Kentucky families respond to this.