As Pa. School Assessment Tests Begin, ‘Opt Out’ is Some Parents’ Response

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three weeks of standardized testing begin today in public schools across Pennsylvania.  But in Philadelphia and elsewhere, a growing number of parents are opting their kids out.

The PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) exams are being administered in classrooms throughout the state.  The tests are the primary way the state evaluates school performance.

But some parents have chosen not to have their kids participate, claiming the tests cause undue stress for kids, and have no direct benefit.

“We’re not going to be silent about what is actually happening, and that people in Pennsylvania have a right to either opt out on religious grounds, or to outright refuse tests for their children,” says parent Alison McDowell, an opt-out organizer in Philadelphia.

The state recommends that any writing on school walls be covered up during the tests.  The opt-out group has launched a web site, talesfromthetest.org, in which some teachers are posting photos of classrooms and hallways covered with brown paper.

 

(READY FOR THE PSSA TESTS.  A photo on the talesfromthetest.org web site shows a school's display boards covered for the duration of testing, as specified in the PSSA rules.)

(READY FOR THE PSSA TESTS. A photo on the talesfromthetest.org web site shows a school’s display boards covered for the duration of testing, as specified in the PSSA rules.)

 

 

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