At Operation Opt-Out we’ve been keeping track of the school districts where parents are opting their children out of the MCAs (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments) across the state.
The MCAs are the federally mandated (yet unconstitutional) assessment required by our state adoption of the No Child Left Behind waiver (also unconstitutional). When Minnesota DOE Commissioner Brenda Cassellius (who is unaccountable to the voter) signs onto a waiver to receive federal monies, the Minnesota executive, legislative and judicial branches choose to follow the hundreds of pages of regulations and policies as set out by the federal government. Other states have signed on to one of the two national consortias developed to meet the Common Core Standards, the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia) or the PARCC (Partnership of Assessment for the Readiness of College and Career). A smaller group of states like Minnesota, has had alternative tests developed to meet both the Common Core and College & Career Ready Standards.
In all three cases, we find heavy involvement with the Pearson testing company. Pearson is solely behind the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments as well as the PARCC testing consortia. Pearson helps fund the SBAC testing consortia.
Many parents are concerned that neither parents nor teachers are able to view these tests and the tests are meant to match the standards and curriculum. Parents are not allowed to view before or after the testing procedure. Additionally, Minnesota school districts are using numerous standardized tests beyond the MCAs and up to as many as 14 standardized tests a year (not to mention prepping for the tests).
Parents in Minnesota are increasingly aware of and concerned with the data collection and mining for personal information that exists now over these computer-adaptive and multiple choice tests. Dumbed-down testing, such as multiple choice tests, are merely a way to “catch” data points on values and behaviors as evidenced by the numerous psychometricians employed both by Pearson and AIR (American Institutes of Research) of which Minnesota students were subjected just a year ago.
This map signifies the school districts where some students have been opted out of the MCAs. We do not have absolute numbers by districts but this is a first step in recording the opt out movement in Minnesota. Please add Sauk Rapids when viewing the map!