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Letter: Allowing kids to opt out sends a terrible message

Allowing kids to opt out sends a terrible message

I am not in favor of extensive standardized testing as the quintessential means of teacher evaluation. However, the state determined that our students should take these tests. Countless hours and tax dollars were spent planning for the tests, developing the tests and teaching for the tests.

Many parents and teachers were not happy about the testing, and strongly voiced their opinions. Nevertheless, the tests were given. It was decided, however, that students could opt out if their parents did not want them to take the tests, or, if the students themselves did not want to take the tests. As has been reported, hundreds of area students chose to opt out.

I work in the Buffalo schools. At one school, a group of opt-out students bounced into the auditorium where all of the students not taking the tests were placed. They asked the proctor, “What movie are you showing?” When the proctor replied that there was no movie, the students looked at each other, clearly dismayed, and said, “Oh, I guess we’ll go back and take the test!”

What message does opting out send to a student? It gives them permission to refuse to take a test. What about next week, when they have to take a spelling test or math quiz? “No, thank you, I think I’ll just opt out.” Come to think of it, I have a report that my boss is asking me to do. I don’t feel like doing it. I don’t think it’s fair. I think I’ll just opt out. Wait, what is this pink slip in my mailbox? Oh, I guess I’ve just been opted out of my job.

Marge Trzyzewski

Amherst