FYI, the correct legal term that districts and states use is "refusal" and not "opt-out."
From the Mrs Mom Blog (in case you didn't know what the Supreme Court has to say on this subject):
Until last year, I, along with most parents, did not realize that
parents have the right to refuse state testing on behalf of their
children. Parents have the right to refuse. There is no provision that allows for the opting out of state assessments, however according to parents’ federal constitutional rights:
Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents possess the “fundamental
right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” The
Court also declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the
State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right
coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional
obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35) The
Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere
“with the power of parents to control the education of their own.”
(Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402.) In recognition of both the right
and responsibility of parents to control their children’s education,
the Court has stated, “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and
nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary
function and freedom include preparation for the obligations the State
can neither supply nor hinder.” (Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158)"
In a nutshell, parents have a say in their child’s education, and the
right to refuse state assessments falls under that umbrella. Starting
next week, thousands of parents in New York State are doing just that. I
am one of them.
The reason my children will never participate in these assessments
again is simple: they are not a useful diagnostic tool that benefit the
child in any way. The test is given in April and the scores are received
in July. There is no data or explanation of where the child needs
additional help; the score is not sent home with identified areas of
weaknesses. At that point, my child’s teacher is no longer my child’s
teacher anymore. They are not used to determine promotion or retention
of grade levels, nor are they factored into the child’s grade at all.
The tests are not used as a learning or teaching tool. Instead, they are
used to score and label children a 1-4 and then packed away in a
‘secure location’ for the next few years, never to be seen again. Once
the scores are released, the children become statistics.
I’m not sure why society has begun to doubt teachers lately and feel
that school districts need to prove that their teachers are actually
teaching throughout the school year. If you want proof that children are
learning, I can assure you, they are. Some more quickly than others,
but that’s what education is. It’s an entire set of variables that are
factored together to create a clear picture of that individual child and
where that child started the year. Giving children in every school
across the state the same test and then expecting to see a clear picture
of how school districts and the teachers employed by those districts are
performing is flawed. A district with high poverty levels and a large
ESL population should not be compared to a suburban affluent district
and then ranked and published in an annual school rankings publication.
It’s comparing two completely different populations.
From the NY Times:
About 270 children in the city’s public school system did not sit for
the tests, their parents believing that the burdens imposed were hardly
offset by the tests’ highly debatable value. (Editor's note: it is believed - from other news stories - that not all schools want to report the numbers who have opted out so this number is likely to be low.)
This movement of refusal
does not evolve out of antipathy toward rigor and seriousness, as
critics enjoy suggesting, but rather out of advocacy for more
comprehensive forms of assessment and a depth of intellectual experience
that test-driven pedagogy rarely allows. In the past year, the movement
has grown considerably among parents and educators, across political
classifications and demographics.
At the Brooklyn New School,
a highly regarded elementary school in Carroll Gardens that prides
itself on academic independence, over 210 students in third through
fifth grades — two-thirds of the relevant students — will not take the
state-mandated tests this year. This figure includes children in fourth
grade for whom state test scores are typically used for middle-school
admission. When parents called those schools to which B.N.S. graduates
typically go, they were told that opting out of the tests would not
damage their children’s chances for acceptance.
The most significant aspect of this wave of testing dissent is its
expansion beyond the world of affluent white parents and celebrated
schools, where children are largely destined to succeed. On Thursday,
parents in Harlem gathered to announce their displeasure with a system
that has forsaken meaningful education for a culture of obsessive
examination. More than 100 families at Hamilton Heights School,
an elementary school where 80 percent of students receive free lunch,
had sent letters alerting the principal that their children would
decline to take the tests.
As Rosa Perez-Rivera, a mother in the Bronx who is opting out, explained
it, her daughter was thrilled by school last year, when work around
oceans sparked a love of science. This year, in third grade, as the
focus has moved to test preparation (state tests are administered in
third through eighth grade), her confidence and enthusiasm have lagged.
“Just as she is getting interested in a subject and grasping it, they’re
moving on to the next,” Ms. Perez-Rivera said. “She is learning not to
trust herself, and it is killing her creativity.”