Tracy and Mary Finney do not want their kids taking the CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) at West Side Elementary school in Marietta, Ga.
The CRCT has been instituted in the state since 2000. Georgia state law requires that all students in grades one through eight take the CRCT, which covers reading, English and mathematics.
“You have to have testing at some point, but there’s so much standardized testing now,” Mary told The Marietta Daily Journal. “It’s for the higher-ups, the bureaucrats, not the educators. They are over-testing our children. I’ve always thought that. We said we don’t want to do this much [testing]. That was our incentive to refuse taking the CRCT.”
The Finneys claim the school system is in violation of the Reconstruction Era 14th Amendment by trying to force their kids to take the CRCT.
“They are collecting data on our children,” Mary said. “Now, with Common Core there is such a large amount of information and data collected on children. People don’t realize it. We don’t want to sound like we’re wearing tin-foil hats, but they want to track our kids from kindergarten through college.”
Mary did not identify who "they" are, but there have been numerous right wing conspiracy theories about Common Core, mostly generated by the homeschooling industry.
Mary told My Fox Atlanta, "Children are coming home not being able to sleep at night, having anxiety about what they are going to do the next morning, how they are going to test. The emphasis is placed on if they don't pass this test they don't get to go on to the next grade."
West Side Principal Karen Smits told the Finneys via email that there was not "an opt-out option for the CRCT."
But Randy Weiner, school board chairman of Marietta City Schools, claims kids don't have to take the CRCT.
“Since there is no opt-out provision in the law, the principals feel there is no choice,” said Weiner. “That’s why the Finneys feel they were being forced to take the CRCT. We would not force a child to take the test. We’ll use common sense.”
“[Lawmakers] didn’t anticipate parents demanding their child not take the test, I’m sure,” added Weiner.
School Superintendent Emily Lembeck says the state law is clear about children being tested, but is seeking some sort of resolution.
"I think we need to make sure the parents are educated as to the reason why we give these assessments,” Lembeck said. “We don’t take them lightly, nor do we want to see parents and students pitted at odds with our schools for a required assessment. But if there is a way to seek resolution, that is what we want to do.”