More and more parents are speaking out and standing up for their parental rights by opting their children out of standardized tests. In a recent discussion, in the Opt Out New York group, members discussed that 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 really wouldn’t be that hard. Here are some ideas to get started.
In our group, I put together a poll so parents could figure out where one another 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.
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.