Opposition to testing grows both sides of the Atlantic

The recent mutterings about testing boycotts in England appears to be growing. It was interesting then to read in AERO’s April 7 e-news about mounting opposition to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) strategy and  testing in the USA.

Opting Out of NCLB: Two Reports from a Growing Movement

It seems that we practically have a national consensus that No Child Left Behind has been a failure. Yet people still seem to be propping it up. Many of us are concerned that the new commissioner of education will not scrap it, although Linda Darling Hammond, President Obama’s education advisor at the time, told me that he would end it within a year of being elected when I met with her in Washington during the election season. Several people in diverse parts of the country are taking things into their own hands, encouraging state-wide movements to opt out of NCLB where that is an option. The feeling is that if this can become a national movement, we, the people can put an end to NCLB by making it clearly unable to function for lack of participation.

We also had another important group contact us recently with a plan to further organize such a movement through a workshop they will offer at the AERO conference in June. By the way, don’t miss this year’s conference, our 20th anniversary event!

Below are statements from organizers of this movement in Colorado and Washington State:


Don’t Take the Test! by Juanita Doyon

Conscientious objection in the form of refusal has been a great American tradition since Boston Harbor was transformed into the largest cup of tea in the world, in 1773. Fast forward to bus boycotts in Birmingham, AL, in response to unjust treatment of riders based on skin color. Now, compare the moral inequities of forced taxation without representation and forced segregation with moral inequity of forced standardization of learning and performance brought upon our public school children by the imposition of widespread, incessant, high-stakes, standardized testing.

Battle cry of the Test Resistance– “Don’t drink the tea; Don’t ride the bus; Don’t take the test!”

In my home state of Washington, the brand of test is the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). The test has been in place for twelve years, and the process was adapted to fit federal No Child Left Behind requirements, in 2002. WASL passage as a requirement for receipt of a high school diploma was put into place in 2008, resulting in the denial of graduation to thousands of deserving young people.
Read the complete summary on our blog at:

Here is a summary on opting out of tests in Colorado from Don Perl:
First of all, before we started encouraging parents to exempt their children from high stakes standardized testing, we looked through the Colorado Revised Statutes to see what legislation we could find that would support parents, as taxpayers and as critical partners in any public education enterprise, to act in the best interests of their children in the event they determined that a specific program undermined their ethics, or ran counter to their values for their children. And voilá, we found Colorado Revised Statutes 22 – 1 – 123 (5) (a) which states:

“…A school or school district employee who requires participation in a survey, analysis, or evaluation in a public school’s curriculum or other official school activity shall obtain the written consent of a student’s parent or legal guardian prior to the student being given any survey, analysis, or evaluation intended to reveal information, whether the information is personally identifiable or not, concerning the student or the student’s parent’s or legal guardian’s: (II) Mental and psychological conditions potentially embarrassing to the student or the student’s family;…”
Read the complete summary on our blog at:


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