Parents explore opting out of state testing for students

Parents in the West Branch school district gathered to discuss Common Core testing.

BELOIT, Ohio (WYTV) – Residents, parents and students packed the West Branch High School auditorium Monday night to learn more about Common Core testing.

Parents like Jeri Close have questions about the new state standards. And some were wondering if opting out of the testing is an option.

“There’s a lot of talk of opting out, and we wanted parents to understand before we’d make a decision like that what impact it would have on the kids and the school district or the teachers,” Close said.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart called the meeting after parents contacted the district offices with concerns about the new state testing requirements. He said many are asking if parents can refuse to have their children take the tests.

Weingart said the state has no form or procedure to opt out of the testing. They are required. If students don’t pass the Common Core End of Course exams by the end of their senior year, they will not receive a diploma.

Senator Joe Schiavoni says there are a lot of questions, but agrees that not taking the tests would most likely be detrimental.

“I am not sure what the benefit of that is because it is not going to help your kids. It is not going to help the school district. It is surely not going to help their teachers and administrators,” Schiavoni said. “I don’t know how far this is going to go because when you opt out there are different levels you can take this. People might try court challenges.”

Jeri Close said she will leave the decision to take the tests to her daughter who she says is a good student and does well on exams.

“She knows what is going on and she is smart. She’s smart enough to figure out if it is a good thing for her or not,” Close said.

State representatives will debate a bill which looks into the concerns of the new state testing. If that passes into law, it may mean even more changes and confusion for parents across the state.

Common Core is a set of expectations of what students should know at each grade level. The new tests replace the Ohio Achievement Tests that were typically administered in the spring and fall. Common Core or PARCC testing takes place throughout the year and involves multiple testing segments.

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