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Testing opt out movement picks up steam, as legislatures consider policy changes
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Delaware is just one of several states where legislation to protect parental opt outs is under consideration. Some legislation aims to simply legalize parental choices, while others aim to protect schools and teachers from consequences for opt outs. - photo by Eric Schulzke
The Delaware House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to support a testing opt out bill that is strongly opposed by the state's governor, Delaware Online reports.

"The state Parent Teacher Association supports the bill, arguing parents should have the right to pull their kid out of the test if they believe it is causing too much stress, taking away too much instructional time and not providing teachers and parents with useful information," Delaware Online reports.

Delaware is just one of several states where legislation to protect parental opt outs is under consideration. Some legislation aims to simply legalize parental choices, while others aim to protect schools and teachers from consequences for opt outs.

Wisconsin also tackled the issue, with a bill that would clarify and expand parental opt-out options, require schools to notify parents of tests being given, prohibit the state from punishing schools where large numbers of pupils opt out, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

"The bill also prohibits DPI from considering how many pupils enrolled in a school or school district have been excused from taking a state test in state report cards. Schools are rated in their report card on test participation and lose points if test participation falls below 95 percent," according to the report.

New York, where USA Today reports that an estimated 155,000 students boycotted the last round of tests, is also considering legislation. One of the proposed New York bills would require schools not only to allow opt-outs, but also to notify parents each year that they had the right to do so, Capital New York reports.

Earlier this month the Colorado House killed legislation that had passed the Senate. The Denver Post reports a narrow 6-5 defeat in committee for the bill, "which would have prevented penalties for teachers, principals, districts and schools because of students opting out of tests."

The proposals are controversial in part because Federal regulations currently require that 95 percent of a state's public school students take the national standardized exams or the state could face financial consequences.

But parents in Florida have found a loophole, as the Deseret News reported last month: "Students who break the seal on a paper exam or log onto a computer but do not answer any questions comply with the law but do not generate a score. The opt-out groups promoting this avenue say they and the students going this route are acting within the letter of the law. Kids 'take' the exam, but do not generate a score."