Good News! Oregon Governor Signs Opt-Out Bill into Law

Despite pressure from the big spenders at Stand for Children and other titans of corporate reform, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the legislation allowing parents to opt out of state tests.

Federal officials had warned that the bill, which also reduces the consequences for schools where many students skip tests, could lead the federal government to withhold millions in federal education funding.

House Bill 2655, which was strongly backed by the Oregon Education Association, prioritizes the rights of parents to exempt their children from that one aspect of public schooling over the desire of school accountability proponents to get complete reading and math test results for all students each year.

But Brown said she wants Oregon educators to make the case to parents that taking part in state tests is valuable so that they will opt for their children to keep taking the exams.

The new law means that, beginning next spring, schools will have to notify every family at least 30 days before state testing begins about what the tests will cover, how long they will take and when results will be delivered. Those notices will also tell parents they can exempt their child from the tests for any reason.

Friends in Oregon: Forget the governor’s misgivings! Opt out is the best tool you have to protect your children from the current national mania for standardized testing. Opting out will curb the overuse and misuse of standardized testing. Former Texas state commissioner of education Robert Scott memorably said in 2012 that the educational industrial complex was out of control and that testing was “the heart of the vampire”

He also said:

The assessment and accountability regime has become not only a cottage industry but a military-industrial complex. And the reason that you’re seeing this move toward the “common core” is there’s a big business sentiment out there that if you’re going to spend $600-$700 billion a year in public education, why shouldn’t be one big Boeing, or Lockheed-Grumman contract where one company can get it all and provide all these services to schools across the country.

I mean, that’s really what you’re looking at. We’re operating like a business.

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