Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest, says the organization "supports the boycotts. We think they are often legitimate and often a necessary form of action. At the same time, students and parents both need to be aware of potential repercussions."
In some states, parents may legally "opt out" their children from state tests. Some states do not address the issue. And in some, a zero score may result, potentially leading to a student's retention and/or pulling down the school's overall grade. Some principals have taken disciplinary action and suspended boycotting students, but others have not.
Neill notes that ultimately, the task is to organize politically to get district officials and legislators to change the tests. His advice: Get educated about the reasons that decisions about students should not be based on a single test score; find out what's on the tests; find allies. "It's all part of organizing a political campaign," he said.
To connect with parents, educators, and advocates in other parts of the United States, visit the FairTest website at: www.fairtest.org/arn/arn.htm.
Vol. 13, No. 4