TN parents join Opt Out movement against standardized tests - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

TN parents join Opt Out movement against standardized tests

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A fast-growing, grass-roots movement against standardized school testing has reached Middle Tennessee.

The effort is called "Opt Out," and it's all about parents saying enough to all that testing, which they believe gets in the way of real learning.

For the first time, Tennessee kindergarten students are now taking bubble tests.

"Some of the kids couldn't read, so the test was being read aloud and the kids were supposed to be filling in the blanks, and at that point I was just like, 'This is just insane, and we are not going to do it again,'" said Nashville parent Coreen Havron.

And the testing may not even be the worst part - consider the weeks of practice beforehand in class.

"In some schools, they start practice for the assessment in August. That's hard to believe, isn't it?" said Metro School Board member Jill Speering.

If so much time is devoted to preparing for standardized testing, these parents want to know what the kids are not learning instead.

"I want my kids to do well, and I want them to succeed, but let's be realistic about where these kids are at. And if you give them too much, it's going to overwhelm them, and they're going to shut down and hate school," said Nashville parent Jennifer Smith.

The Opt Out movement is spreading across the country like wildfire.

Now, Speering and a variety of parents with students from elementary to high school are joining together to do what it takes to reduce the number of tests.

They want to see a new law that would allow parents to opt their child out of tests without any penalty to students or teachers.

"We are our children's champion. We have to do it for them," said Nashville parent Shautel Walker.

California, for now, is the only state that allows parents to opt their children out of standardized testing.

The Tennessee Department of Education has not returned calls for comment on this story, and Metro Nashville Public Schools said it does what the state asks.

Metro said standardized tests are a valuable tool for school leaders to see how the kids are doing and how educators are doing.

To learn more about the Tennessee Opt Out movement, visit its Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/stopthetntestingmadness/.

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