Sick Days are No Cure for the Assessment Opt-Out Blues

By Vicki Alger, Ph.D.
Author of a forthcoming book on the history of the U.S. Department of Education 

Arizona parents are one step closer to having their assessment opt-out rights affirmed, thanks to Senate Education Committee Chairman Senator Sylvia Allen’s sponsorship of the amended SB 1455.

But affirming parents’ opt-out rights could be sidelined because some senators think it’s unnecessary. "Just keep children home ‘sick’ during the test day. What’s the big deal?”

Testing today isn’t what it used to be some years ago.  We’d show up at school, spend a couple of hours filling in bubbles, and go home. The biggest worry back then was making sure we brought enough number two pencils with us.

These days, parents and students are lucky if they’re even informed about the testing dates far enough in advance to stay home "sick," since assessment periods can span as much as 6 weeks. So there’s no practical way for parents to simply opt-out in absentia.

But here’s the really big deal based on what parents and children endured last spring when a similar opt-out protection bill failed in the Senate by one vote.

Many parents were told that if they kept their children home, their children wouldn’t be allowed back into their classes until they took the assessment.

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