Delaware House Passes Assessment Opt-Out Bill

delaware-state-flagThe assessment opt-out movement hits Delaware.  The News Journal reports that the Delaware House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill on Thursday that states parents are allowed to opt their children out of standardized testing.

Lawmakers in the Delaware House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation Thursday that allows parents to prevent their children from taking standardized testing in Delaware’s public schools.

The bill, opposed by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, passed 36-3, with two lawmakers absent…

…The opt-out debate illustrates the tension simmering between state education officials, who say strong accountability and data-driven decisions will improve schools, and many educators and parents, who believe Delaware is test-obsessed.

The state Parent Teacher Association supports the bill, arguing parents should have the right to pull their kid out of the test if they believe it is causing too much stress, taking away too much instructional time, and not providing teachers and parents with useful information.

The Delaware State Education Association, the state’s largest education union, also supports the bill, arguing Delaware needs to rethink a “test and punish” system that places too much emphasis on test scores in evaluating schools and students.

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Delaware belongs to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia.  Delaware state education officials announced last month that high school juniors who do well on Smarter Balanced exams don’t have to take remedial classes in college. The agreement applies to the University of Delaware, Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware State University and Wilmington University.

Delaware’s opt-out numbers were humble in comparison to New York’s, but the movement is young.  If this bill becomes law it’s likely next year will see those numbers grow as more parents will feel they have legal cover.