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Letter: Opt-out parents teaching children the wrong lesson

Opt-out parents teaching children the wrong lesson

I don’t understand the continuing opt-out movement. Administrators are happy that it’s all going so smoothly. They should be tearing their hair out that it’s happening at all.

It’s been said that half the reason for success in life is simply showing up. The opt-out parents are teaching their offspring that it’s OK not to show up. If you don’t like a particular task, or see it as useless or unfair, opt out. If the teacher gives out an unpleasant assignment, let others do it. It’s not a good life-lesson.

I’d like to know what’s going through the minds of some of these opt-out kids as they sit at their desks opting out while their classmates in another room labor over the exam. Do some of them wish they could take it, too?

In fairness, the opt-out movement has apparently succeeded in temporarily detaching teacher evaluations from test scores, in my mind a good thing. I realize there are legitimate questions surrounding the quality and efficacy of these exams, but life is full of tests and trials – written, oral and performance-related – and many of them are flawed, stupid or unfair.

I think these state exams, whatever their quality, should be looked upon not as a burden or as a chance for parents to make a statement to Albany, but as an opportunity to learn how to take an exam. Many of the opt-out children might even do well on such an exam, giving them an actually legitimate reason for self-esteem.

Kevin H. Siepel