Opting Out

The MTA supports the opt-out movement — the right of parents to opt their children out of state standardized tests. Opting out, or refusing the test, is a powerful way to protest the misuse of high-stakes tests in Massachusetts public schools. With each year the opt-out movement is growing. Last year, 640,000 students across the country refused to take state standardized tests. The largest number of students to opt out was in New York. In Seattle, the entire 11th-grade class at the Nathan Hale High School boycotted the state test in reading and math.

HOW TO OPT OUT OF MASSACHUSETTS STATE TESTS
Video created by massoptout.org

Headlines

COMMISSIONER MISLEADING EDUCATORS ON TESTING OPT-OUTS
The Less Testing, More Learning Coalition is calling on Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester to denounce bullying, pressuring or punishing of students who opt out of the MCAS. The coalition sent a letter in response to his March 6 memo discouraging parents from opting their children out of high-stakes testing. Read the coalition's letter and MTA President Barbara Madeloni's message to MTA members on the issue.

BOSTON LATIN, CLAP SCHOOLS LOSE TOP STANDING AFTER 15 STUDENTS OPT OUT  
Noting “flaws in the system," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the state should not penalize schools because a few students opted out of the PARCC assessment exam. (The Boston Globe, Sept. 26, 2016)

Swift River STANDARDIZED TESTS 'DON'T DEFINE US'
Swift River School students gained more time for projects and research by opting out of standardized testing. The New Salem/Wendell School Committee passed an opt-out resolution, supporting and encouraging parents to opt their children out.

 

Hingham Forum on Opting Out COMMUNITY FORUMS FOCUS ON RIGHT TO OPT OUT
Even parents who are active in their local schools often don't know that it is their right to opt their children out of high-stakes tests. (MTA Today, Spring 2016 issue)
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MOVEMENT TAKES A STAND AGAINST HIGH-STAKES TESTING IN SCHOOLS
Detailed look at the opt-out movement taking root in the Greater New Bedford area. (SouthCoast Today,  April 28, 2016)

 

MTA DELEGATES VOTE FOR OPT-OUT MOVEMENT The largest policy-making body of the association passed a multi-pronged New Business Item in support of the right of parents to opt their children out of state standardized tests. News story | New Business Item

SHARE STRATEGIES FOR 'OPTING OUT' OF TESTS  Anti-testing advocates meet in Florida to advance their case and share protest strategies, including Twitter campaigns, parent test-taking parties, quiet conversations in the educators’ lounge, organized walkouts. (Education Week, Jan. 27, 2016)

REVOLT AGAINST HIGH-STAKES STANDARDIZED TESTING GROWING — AND SO DOES ITS IMPACT Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest, explains how the growing opposition from students, parents, teachers and administrators is leading states to change their testing policies. (Washington Post, March 19, 2015)

Opt-Out Movement Leaders Make Their Case (Video)

DIANE RAVITCH, EDUCATION HISTORIAN AND ACTIVIST

Ravitch is urging parents across the country to refuse to allow their children to participate in this spring’s testing. “Opt out is the only way you have to tell policymakers that they’re heading in the wrong direction,” says Ravitch.

JESSE HAGOPIAN, SEATTLE HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER WHO LED 2013 TEST BOYCOTT

Hagopian calls for meaningful education and outlines some of the greatest obstacles to students of the "testocracy." In 2015, Hagopian told MTA Annual meeting delegates, "We are currently in the largest uprising against high-stakes testing in the history of the United States.”

JEANETTE DEUTERMAN MAKES THE CASE FOR OPTING OUT

Long Island parent organizer speaks passionately about test refusal as an act of "upstanding" for what is right and calling out what isn't.

Take Action

ORGANIZE A COMMUNITY FORUM ON OPTING OUT The MTA’s Education Policy and Practice Committee is assisting locals that are interested in organizing community forums on opting out of high-stakes, standardized tests. This is a great opportunity for parents, educators and community leaders to come together, share information and learn how to refuse standardized tests. For assistance, contact Dan Clawson at clawson.dan@gmail.com.

For MTA Members

MTA INFORMS DESE OF OPT OUT SUPPORT MTA expresses view that parents have a right to opt their children out of testing.

FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS RELATED TO TEST OPT-OUT One-page fact sheet produced by the MTA Legal Division outlining the rights of MTA members under the First Amendment. The MTA will provide a strong legal defense for any member who is disciplined or retaliated against for lawfully speaking out.

Less Testing, More LearningCheck out our High-Stakes Testing Toolkit for more resources.