Opting out of No Child Left Behind tests - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Opting out of No Child Left Behind tests

Some parents now opt their kids out of standardized tests, saying they aren't accurate measures of accomplishment and are used to punish schools.

Third graders in State College, Pennsylvania are pouring over their standardized exams and the text books they used to prepare for them are as big as some of the kids.

As students dug in, a fellow classmate happily constructed Lego's.

Neither he nor his big brother, working on an independent study, took the test after their parents said 'forget it.'

"I believe that they're hurting not just my children. But children across the country," their mother, Michele Gray, said.

She is opting them out of the two-week long standardized tests, required of every public school under the No Child Left Behind Act.

It's a controversial law aimed at making sure schools measure up.

The opt out parents said the tests have too much riding on them, forcing teachers to spend way too much time teaching the test.

"We've turned children into data point as opposed to learners," Penn State Altoona Professor Timothy Slekar said.

In Pennsylvania, students have to take the test every year from third through eighth grade.

"That's just insane, that's cruel," Gray said.

In 2014, if 100 percent of students don't pass, a school's funding could be slashed.

For this year, parent Dana Mitra is opting in, but that could change.

"It's a dilemma. It's a moral dilemma for a parent," she said.

Parents at Park Forest Elementary, a school awarded for excellence, are beginning to organize. Last year no one opted out of the test, but this year 9 out of 500 students won't be taking it.

Slekar, who is an education professor, opted out his third-grader and told other parents how they could do the same.

"Most parents didn't even know this was their option because the state and federal government doesn't want parents to know that's an option," he said.

President Barack Obama acknowledged the tests need revamping, but said he still sees their value.

"We don't need to know whether a student can fill out a bubble. We do need to know whether they're making progress," he said.

Critics said opt out parents are coddling kids who need to be more competitive than ever.

A test of wills that has some students sitting on the sideline.

Copyright 2011 POOL and CNN. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly