The movement to boycott standardized testing has caught the media totally by surprise. The mostly parent-led effort started with Facebook pages and neighborhood meetings has grown into a firestorm of resistance.
As the Associated Press reported this week, “This ‘opt-out’ movement remains scattered but is growing fast.” The article points to New York – where perhaps as many as 200,000 students recently sat out the standardized tests – but also mentions strong opt-out movements in New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
Even education policy influentials who have long advocated for an accountability system driven by standardized tests have been shaken by the resounding opposition to their policies.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, momentum is growing behind a US Senate bill rewriting No Child Left Behind legislation that governs national education policy. As Zoë Carpenter describes for The Nation, the new bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, isn’t exactly “a stake through the heart of NCLB,” but it likely puts the accountability mandates of NCLB into a state of flux in which federal enforcement of Adequate Yearly Progress would end and states would have more leeway in crafting their own accountability measures.
It would seem that at a time, such as now, when the nation’s education policy is in such disarray, and incoherence rules the day, it would be good to pivot to alternatives that might provide a more positive path forward. Indeed, such an alternative approach is at hand.