What happened when I opted my kids out of standardized tests

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Deciding to opt my two daughters out of Colorado standardized testing seemed like a no-brainer. We aren’t permanent Colorado residents -- we’re just here for one academic year while I’m a visiting professor at the University of Denver. My daughters, ages 13 and 14, are strong students. My husband and I see no educational benefit to the tests. My younger daughter experienced some serious test anxiety a couple of years back when taking Pennsylvania’s standardized tests.

And honestly, given three things -- that, according to what a school administrator told me, Colorado law allows parents to refuse the testing on behalf of their children; that the testing enrollment forms include an option to “refuse testing”; and that we currently live in Boulder, one of the most liberal, individualistic towns in America -- we truly didn’t think this would be a big deal. Boy, were we wrong.

On Monday, about 15 minutes after I sent an email to the guidance counselors at the public high school and middle school informing them that I was opting my two daughters out, I got a call from the middle-school principal. I don’t know about you, but I can never get anyone from school to call me back in under a day or so. But here was the principal herself, instantaneously calling me in response to an email that I hadn’t even sent to her.

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