From Inclusion to Opting Out: Parents Getting Their Way

jeffrey m hartman

The current standardized testing opt-out movement is a departure from what some parents of special needs students have lobbied for in the past. Examining case law in special education reveals a trend towards increasing inclusion in every area of student life. The opt-out movement follows the opposite trajectory, but it remains part of a larger trend that includes general education. Parents want control over their children’s education to an unprecedented degree.

Recently, parents of students with and without IEPs have been petitioning for their children to be exempted from taking tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The tests of concern are the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Despite differing origins, each test is part of an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education to gauge student preparedness according to the Common Core. States have their own agendas…

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