The entire junior class of a Seattle high school sent an unmistakable message to President Obama and other supporters of the Common Core curriculum last week: Thanks, but no thanks.
Not a single junior at Nathan Hale High showed up Tuesday to take new state exams in reading and math, a Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman told The Seattle Times.
That’s 280 students who skipped the tests in a show of force.
The online exams, called Smarter Balanced, evaluate students’ proficiency according to Common Core standards in reading and math, according to the Times. Washington adopted the standards in 2013.
“They didn’t skip school all day,” district spokeswoman Stacy Howard told the newspaper. “They just didn’t show up during the testing period.”
Critics blamed the White House for the unpopular standards, now that Obama has made Common Core adoption a requirement for states to be eligible for federal Race to the Top grant money.
Doug Edelstein, a history teacher at Nathan Hale, said the opt-out honored old-fashioned democratic standards.
“Students voted with their own feet,” he said. “They felt like they knew the facts and made their own decisions.”
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Edelstein questioned the validity of the tests and said students and their parents decided for themselves that the exams were a waste of time, according to the Times.
Fortunately, the Smarter Balanced exam is not a requirement for Nathan Hale High juniors to graduate.
The opt-out movement on such exams is gaining steam across the country.
“Tens of thousands of parents and students nationwide are engaging in civil disobedience by refusing to participate in federally mandated standardized tests, as states are fully deploying new exams aligned to the Common Core State Standards for the first time,” U.S. News and World Report reported last month.
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