United Opt Out Administrators


Standardized testing emerged at the turn of the century as part of the

Eugenics movement.

Eugenics is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of people with desired traits

(positive eugenics) and reduced reproduction of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

Carl C. Brigham, father of the SAT, was an enthusiastic member of the eugenics movement. Brigham worked on the Army Alpha Test, an intelligence test given to millions of recruits during World War I to determine who worked a desk job who was assigned to the trenches. In 1923, he wrote A Study of American

Intelligence, which analyzed the findings of the Alpha Test, which later became the SAT. Its conclusion was that American education was declining and "will proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial mixture becomes more and more extensive."

For decades studies have documented the bias of race, culture, gender and social class that skew the validity of these tests to measure actual student learning (or potential).

Writing about test scores in the November 1993 issue of The Atlantic Monthly ,

Duke University professor, Stanley Fish, renowned for scholarship in both law and literature, asserted: "Statistical studies have suggested that test scores reflect income and socioeconomic status. It has been demonstrated again and again that scores vary in relation to cultural background; the test's questions assume a certain uniformity in educational experience and lifestyle and penalize those who, for whatever reason, have had a different experience and lived different kinds of lives. In short, what is being measured by the SAT is not absolutes like native ability and merit but accidents like birth, social position, access to libraries, and the opportunity to take vacations or to take SAT prep courses."


Decades later, according to education researcher and professor Dr. Harold Berlak, the results are the same: “Even when parents' income and wealth is comparable, African-

Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and immigrants for whom English is not their first language lag behind English-speaking, native born, white students. The evidence for the gap has been documented repeatedly by the usual measures. These include drop-out rates, relative numbers of students who take the advanced placement examination, who are enrolled in the top academic and 'gifted' classes and/or admitted to higher status secondary schools, colleges, graduate and professional programs. And last but not least, are the discrepancies in scores on standardized tests of academic achievement, on which teachers' and students' fate so heavily depend.”


(1) standardized test items frequently are unrelated to those tasks and behaviors required in the classroom setting,

2) standardized test results reflect behavior or ability that has been measured during a single point in time and, as such, are greatly influenced by non-cognitive factors

(e.g., fatigue, attention, and so forth);

(3) standardized test results do not provide the type of information required for making curricular modifications or instructional change, and

(4) standardized administration procedures often prevent the examiner from obtaining useful information regarding the conditions under which the examinee may be able to improve performance (e.g., could a student with a language deficit benefit from clarification of test directions?

(Fuchs & Fuchs, 1986; Haywood & Tzuriel, 1992; Quinto & McKenna, 1977;Tzuriel,

2001; Tzuriel & Samuels, 2000).


Across the nation, a set of untried and unproven education standards written by testing companies and corporate executives has been launched with implementation in nearly every public school in the nation regardless of the fact that research reveals that writing and implementing new standards has never resulted in higher student achievement. The measure of student success of these standards is now determined by invalid, unreliable, enormously expensive, and time consuming nationalized standardized tests whose roots go back to a movement that perpetuates racial superiority through so called “scientific evidence.” These tests are now taken on computers - even though some students do not have well developed keyboarding skills - where testing and education technology companies now have access to 400 points of private student data, which they can use in any way they please. Moreover, many states have tied the results of these test to teacher employment status and pay using an algorithm called Value Added Measure (VAM), which research studies reveal is unreliable and faulty. Furthermore, while tax-based education budgets for public schools are shrinking, profits to corporations selling standards-related preparation and testing materials are sky rocketing.

The original intent of the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was to facilitate an equitable, thriving, and successful public education for all children. Instead, we have a test based accountability and inequitable system that decades of volumes of peer reviewed literature indicate that

1) is unreliable and invalid,

2) is discriminatory against non-Whites, second language students, and students with disabilities;

3) is a waste of time and money,

4) negatively sorts and tracks children,

5) diverts from meaningful instruction,

6) fosters cheating and systemic instability,

7) facilitates a school to prison pipeline and increase in “actual” drop-outs, and

8) reveals only that children of means perform better than children with less as it provides for corporate exploitation of tax dollars.

Myth #1. Standardized testing is needed to address the racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps.

Myth #2. High-stakes standardized testing is needed to hold teachers and districts accountable.

Myth #3. Opting out does not prepare children for the real world.

Myth #4. Opting out is just for white middle-class families who care only about their own children.

Myth #5. Opting out does nothing to stop the testing industrial complex.

We take this stand because:

Right now, in communities from the highest need to the most affluent, students, parents and educators are being punished for the courageous act of informing others about available options to opt out of high stakes tests and acting upon those options. These reprisals, often for merely learning and teaching about students’ rights, violate basic human rights and common decency.

There is no evidence that these tests contribute to the quality of education, or help close the “achievement gap.” Since NCLB, these tests have hindered, not helped, school improvement efforts. The scores of US students in the international PISA tests have remained flat for the dozen years of high stakes testing.

These tests, particularly those associated with the Common Core, have become intrusive in our schools, consuming excessive time and resources. These are not the kind of tests that we took when we were children. Students in grades three to eight must spend ten or more hours on testing, and enter their answers on computer keyboards. Since teachers will not see their scores for months they have no diagnostic value.

They have resulted in narrow instruction and curriculum that focuses on test preparation.

The Common Core tests, such as PARCC, SBAC and others Pearson has developed to measure the Common

Core standards, have been designed to yield widespread failure for students, and thus are an inaccurate reflection of what our students are capable of doing.

Inequities in education are a real and devastating reality in our education system. High stakes tests exacerbate this inequity with their negative, disparate impact on students of color, students in poverty, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

NPE Board member Carol Burris wrote recently,

“…there comes a time when rules must be broken — when adults, after exhausting all remedies, must be willing to break ranks and not comply. That time is now. The promise of a public school system, however imperfectly realized, is at risk of being destroyed. The future of our children is hanging from testing’s high stakes. The time to Opt Out is now.”

( http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/2015/03/npe-supports-those-who-opt-out/?can_id=&source=emailesea-conference-title-i-portability-vs-accountability&email_referrer=esea-conference-title-i-portability-vsaccountability)

NBI 8: Educate and empower members to exercise their rights to refuse state-mandated assessments for their own children.

Adopted .

NBI 43: Require the NEA to provide talking points on the history of standardized testing, the effects on students and curricula, statements from child-development experts, and examples of authentic alternative classroom assessments. The NBI was adopted.

NBI 48: Require the union to highlight through its publications what affiliate are doing to inform parents of the negative effects of testing and the right to opt out their children.

Modified and adopted.

NBI 50: Require the NEA to recognize parents who stand with teachers by opting out their students.

Adopted .

NBI 109: Require the union to lobby for all states to allow students who successfully complete all state required credits to graduate without "testing restrictions." Modified and adopted.

NBI 115: Require the NEA to work within existing structures to support a national opt out/test refusal movement.

Adopted .


Varied student assessments and resulting data must be local to the individual classroom and the individual school community.

The only annual data that should be collected and scrutinized outside of the school community is that which reveals

1) student attendance broken down by daily and individual periods,

2) location and percentage of segregated schools and segregated class placements,

3) course offerings in individual schools and districts,

4) how staff is placed based on their credentials, experience, gender and race, and age;

5) what each staff member is paid,

6) how well resourced individual states, districts and schools are;

7) type and make-up of governance boards

8) and efforts made to reduce community poverty.

Imagine the changes and recommendations that would occur based on that data collection as opposed to annual student test scores!