Those controversial tests your child is about to take in school? You can opt them out.

There is a lot of debate about Common Core and how it's been implemented.

The time has come, my friends, for Common Core testing. You may have heard of it. It's made numerous news segments recently because not only is Common Core controversial, but loads of parents and kids are actually choosing to NOT take the tests (which are happening now-ish). The refusals are happening in nearly every state that's adopted Common Core tests, but one of the biggest opt-out states so far has been New York.

Before we go into that, you'll need some good starting information about Common Core. With so much confusion, a lot of parents just don't know where to start. There are many links throughout this piece that you can follow to help get you up to speed. And there's a video at the end if you don't feel like reading, but the breakdown here is a good place to start.


What Common Core is:

The idea is to have a national set of standards, or a "common core," for students to meet before college admission. Before this set of standards it was up to each state, and colleges were getting kids who all graduated high school but had completely different proficiency levels in reading and math.

It's easy to see why a national standard appeals to people. It helps to develop college curriculums that make our upcoming workforce and talent competitive with the workforce and talent of other countries by ensuring that college-track kids get to about the same place by the end of high school.

Here's what Common Core is not:

It's not a specific curriculum. How districts choose curriculums to get kids to the established benchmarks of proficiency is their choice. While that's good in a way, it's also been confusing for districts because the tests have been enacted before the schools had sufficient time to research and implement new curriculums. Some districts have even been preyed upon by for-profit companies claiming to sell curriculum packages (textbooks and workbooks) already aligned with Common Core, which are actually about the same as previous textbooks, but with a “Common Core approved" sticker slapped on.

Here's why some people are super into Common Core:

Common Core has been touted as a better way to:

  • Teach kids to separate fact from fiction: Having kids compare two versions of something and pick apart which is more likely to be true is a tenet of reading comprehension benchmarks.
  • Allow states to collaborate on textbooks and digital tools: Having uniform standards means that each state doesn't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to developing systems.
  • Incorporate technology into learning seamlessly: By placing emphasis on tech skills throughout the learning and the testing, it aims to prepare kids for the work skills they'll need.
  • Teach speaking and listening skills: Starting in kindergarten, showing an understanding for rules of conversation like taking turns and asking questions is part of the benchmarks.
  • Teach critical thinking skills: By including questions that push students to make callbacks to the reading material, the tests aspire to hone critical thinking abilities.
"Common education standards are essential for producing the educated workforce America needs to remain globally competitive."

— Craig Barrett, former CEO of Intel Corp.

Why some people are really against Common Core:

In terms of how Common Core actually shapes up in the classroom, there are a lot of valid concerns. Interestingly, the criticisms come from progressives and conservatives alike. Here are some common themes.

"I have come to the conclusion that the Common Core standards effort is fundamentally flawed by the process with which they have been foisted upon the nation."

— Diane Ravitch, education historian who was U.S. assistant secretary of education under two presidents and formerly supported Common Core

That's a boiled down version of the basics of the Common Core debate. And here's where it leaves us.

What is clear is that it's crucial to figure out a healthy way to challenge every child to their true potential and to remain competitive with students from other countries.

What is less clear is whether Common Core is the right vehicle to get us there.

If you like Common Core and think the testing that goes with it should move ahead, there's good news for you. It is being implemented across most of the country this year. It is here and it is happening.

But what's a parent with concerns (or flat-out objections) to do?

It turns out, there's an option for them, too.

It's called the United Opt Out movement, and it's growing in popularity.

It's pretty much a huge wave of parents across the country — stronger in some of the 43 states enacting this testing than others — that is telling the schools that their children are not going to be taking the tests. New York parents have gotten the movement started, and in Long Island, 65,000 of approximately 144,000 students opted out of the tests as of April 2015. The bet here is that if state departments of education can't get enough compliance with the tests, eventually states will revise their tactic and choose another way.

As with any serious decision involving education, there are some pros and cons to making this choice, but it's good to know that parents and students actually have an option.

If opting out of Common Core testing may be the right choice for your family, take some time to find out your state's stance on it.

You can do that by checking out the opt-out guides and choosing your state from the drop-down menu.

In some cases, it's as simple as sending a letter to your child's school.

And if you do take that route, you're not alone. Check out this video that covers some of the protests happening:


There's a lot to consider here, but the the best place to begin is with information. It might prove helpful to show this to other parents you know and see what they've been thinking about this. It's our nations' kids' education for the next ... really long time, potentially. It's kind of a big deal.

Most Shared
Facebook / Amazinggracie.ga

A disabled dog with no front legs can now run and play thanks to a 12-year-old volunteer at an animal shelter who built her a wheelchair out of Legos.

One-year-old Gracie was dumped at a veterinary clinic when she was a baby. She was covered in maggots and was missing hair under her eyes and on her feet and tail. She was also missing her two front legs due to a birth defect.

The vet reached out to a local rescue called Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue, in Kennesaw, Georgia, who took Gracie in to help her find a new home. The Turley family, who runs the shelter, loved Gracie so much, they decided to adopt her for themselves.

Gracie loves to play with her fur siblings, including a dog who is paralyzed in his hind legs and likes to pull her around, and on who has three legs. While Gracie can get around OK on her own two hind legs, her mom, Tammy, was worried about her getting injured so they enlisted the help of Dylan, 12, a volunteer at the shelter.

RELATED: This adorable Twitter thread captures a woman's surprise reunion with her foster dog

Amazing Gracie Intro- 12 year old builds LEGO wheelchair for 2 legged puppy www.youtube.com

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Vaping 360

A young doctor has taken to TikTok, the new social media app popular among Gen. Z, to share information about important health issues, including the negative side effects of vaping.

Dr. Rose Marie Leslie, 29, is a second-year family resident at the University of Minnesota Physicians Broadway Family Medicine Clinic.

When she first joined the platform six months ago, she initially started sharing videos about her hectic life as a resident. But whenever she'd share videos with medical facts, she noticed more comments and likes.


Dr. Leslie on TikTok www.tiktok.com


Keep Reading Show less
popular
Wikipedia

Gina Rodriguez doesn't exactly have a great track record when it comes to talking about black representation. There was that time when she (incorrectly) said that Latina actresses are paid less than black actresses. Or that time when she interrupted an interviewer for saying her co-star, Yara Shahidi, was a role model to black women. Or that time when she tried to make "Black Panther" about her. Now, Rodriguez is under heat again, this time for rapping the n-word and being "sorry, not sorry" about it.

Rodriguez posted an Instagram story of herself singing along to "Read or Not" by the Fugees while getting her hair and make-up done. In the short video, she can be seen singing the lyrics, including the n-word, and laughing. Rodriguez deleted the video quickly, but not quick enough. Twitter was, to say the least, not pleased.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

There's nothing like a good reunion story to get you misty in the ol' tear ducts. Kate Howard, the managing editor of Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, shared a story of randomly running into the dog she used to foster on Twitter. You know all those dog reunion movies? The ones with names like A Dog's Hope and A Dog's Sloppy Kiss? The ones that make you cry buckets no matter how hard you think your heart is? Well, this is that, but in real life.

Keep Reading Show less
popular