- Oren Pizmony-Levy, an assistant professor of international and comparative education at Teachers College, Columbia University suggests in the Hechinger Report that the opt-out movement is still fairly strong, but is not as well-known as other movements because it lacks leadership and an advocacy arm that has a specific agenda.
- In 2016, the U.S. Department of Education issued warnings to 11 states that their testing opt-out rates were higher than the 5% maximum and threatened them with cuts to federal funding. However, in 2018, New York state saw a 18% opt-out rate, Colorado's was 11% in 8th grade and, in Alaska, the rate was 8.5%, a factor which distorts the original intent for the standardized tests.
- Most parents opt out of testing because they are dissatisfied with the pressure placed on students and teachers by high-stakes testing and resent in the increased role of “edu businesses" and corporations in schools. Pizmony-Levy says that, if policymakers were more transparent about the creation of education policies and gave parents a greater voice in the process, the opt-out movement would not be necessary.
The opt-out movement grew out of the continuing debate over the value of standardized testing and how the results of those tests should be used. However, from the beginning, the movement has been controversial. In 2013, former education secretary Arne Duncan dismissed it as an attempt by “white suburban moms" to cover for their own childrens' disappointing academic performance.
Since then, the movement has seen some growth but there is still a lack of strong support from Americans at large who don’t clearly understand the motives behind the movement. With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which allows states to have greater freedom to use measures other than standardized tests in their accountability models, the opt-out movement appears to be declining.
At this point, some people see the movement as ineffective, while other see it as a call to action. The movement seems to primarily represent the frustration of parents who feel they have little control of the education policies that shape their children’s lives. However, while the movement may not have accomplished the abolishment of high-stakes testing, it could be argued that the concerns raised by parents in the opt-out movement may have had an impact on the crafting of greater freedoms under ESSA.
As a result, in some states, the stakes for testing are not as high as they once were, and state lawmakers are paying closer attention to the number of tests students are required to take. In a era of growing educational options, parents are wielding a little more power in educational decisions than they have had in the past and schools and lawmakers are finding it harder to ignore them.