Monday, January 14, 2013

Where can kids go on opt out of tests days?

Students from Palms Elementary in the photography galleries at the Getty CenterMore and more parents are opting their children out of standardized tests. In a recent opt out group discussion, parents shared they were told that if their child attended school, but did not take the test, they would have to sit at their desks and do nothing. They would not even be allowed to read but rather sentenced to sit and stare into space.

Rather than waste children’s time, one parent asked, “Wouldn't it be amazing if there was an educational opportunity available in communities during testing days for those students who were opting out?”

Yes. Of course it would.

Why not use testing days as community learning days? It wouldn’t be that hard. Here are some ideas to get started.

Figure out where each opt out family lives to make coordination easier.  From there it is possible to arrange for fun activities for children just as we do in summers, holidays, and weekends. In fact if each parent volunteered to take one day off work, the child care needs would be accounted for. If retired friends and family were brought into the mix, there would be even more hands on deck. And, hey, what if some of those friends and family had an interest that some of the kids might enjoy? Perhaps those family and friends could teach a class to kids who were interested. Or...maybe the kids have an interest and they want to form their own study group or class. If so, a trip to the library could be added to the list of activities.

From there parents could go into the local community and maybe even put together a fun pass book for testing days with discounts to local museums, zoos, theater, etc. They’ll all be empty since most young people will be locked up taking tests.  The community would probably love your business!  And, speaking of business...How about asking some of the local business owners if they’d like to get into the game and offer a class during testing week too

If you want to add a schooly spin to it, encourage the children to document what they are learning with one of their favorite technologies, cell phones!, and have them make a
digital book with something like Flickr.

There are so many ways kids can learn on opt out of state standardized testing days.  All it takes is community coming together to take back our children’s freedom to learn.  
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