Opt out of MSA testing in Carroll?

By | January 19, 2014

Many parents are concerned about all of the time and resources spent in taking assessments. With the MSA being replaced by PARCC, the test has become meaningless. Scores will drop again this year as they did last year. This does not mean our kids aren’t learning, but that the assessments are measuring what is being taught. It’s a huge waste! Despite bills in the legislature and the recent comments of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown supporting cancellation, it doesn’t look promising. So what can parents do other than keeping kids home?

Here is the answer from CCPS, provided by Gregg Bricca, Director of Research and Accountability:

There is no provision for opting out. Public Law 107-110, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and flexibility waivers thereafter, require states to annually test all students in selected grades in reading and mathematics. Maryland law echoes this requirement. CCPS is held accountable for our participation rate.

Furthermore, participation requirements are detailed in the testing manuals. The testing documents clearly state that all students must participate in assessments. The only exception is for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed using alternative assessments.

Several Maryland legal decisions have reference the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Blau v. Ft. Thomas School District, 401 F.3d.381 (6th Cir. 2005) which states:

While parents may have a fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child. Whether it is the school curriculum, the hours of the school day, school discipline, the timing and content of examinations, the individuals hired to teach at the school, the extracurricular activities offered at the school or, as here, a dress code, these issues of public education are generally “committed to the control of state and local authorities.”

Since assessment is part of the regular instructional program, local school officials are required to assess the students who are present on testing days. We will test students if they are in school during the testing window. This year the MSA reading and math window runs from March 3 to March 21.

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