Behind the Headline: Who’s Really Opting Out Anyway?

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Who’s Really Opting Out Anyway?
The 74 | 3/6/2016

Behind the Headline
The 2016 EdNext Poll on School Reform
Education Next | Winter 2016

ednext_XVI_1_poll_img01As the spring testing season is about to begin, Caroline Bermudez takes a look at the opt-out phenomenon that grabbed headlines last spring.

In looking over the numbers of students opting out of tests in different states, Bermudez finds support for poll results showing that most Americans don’t support pulling children out of tests. As she notes,

An Education Next survey found that 67 percent of the public supports the federal government mandating tests in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school. Fifty-nine percent of the public does not believe parents should allow children to skip tests.

Bermudez also points out that, while anti-testing advocates claim broad support for opting out of tests, people of color overwhelmingly oppose it.

She also notes that

In states with the largest number of opt-outs, students who chose not to take tests were mostly white and affluent; a large percentage were 11th-graders, whose crowded spring testing calendars also included college-prep and Advanced Placement exams.

Bermudez concludes that throwing out testing “isn’t as popular an idea as opt-out advocates would like us to believe.”

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The complete Education Next poll results can be found here.

—Education Next

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