- A study out of Teachers College at Columbia University examines national survey data of opt-out activists, finding that the typical parent is highly educated, white, married, politically liberal and wealthy, with kids in the nation’s public schools.
- According to the report, only about 75% of parents in the opt-out movement have opted their children out of testing before, and the movement also includes those whose children are homeschooled, childless adults who are supporting the movement and parents who did not opt out their kids.
- Opt-out activists say they are also opposed to judging teacher performance by student test scores, the narrowing of the curriculum because of test prep, corporatization and privatization of education, and the Common Core State Standards.
The data from the Teachers College study comes from an online survey that recruited respondents through websites and social media pages of opt-out groups. More than 1,600 people responded from 47 states. The opt-out movement has been particularly strong in New York state, one of the first to implement Common Core-aligned tests and to tie the results to teacher evaluations. The federal government is considering requiring states to penalize schools without 95% participation on state standardized tests. In New York, school leaders worry this could have a significant negative impact on property values and school reputations.
It is interesting to note that the opt out movement seems to be bringing people together from across the political spectrum as a way to protest a range of education reform initiatives beyond simply standardized testing. The movement appears to be somewhat of a catch-all for family disapproval of broader education policy.