Society

Georgia Parents Have Tough Time Exempting Their Kids From Standardized Tests

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Two Georgia parents who didn’t want their children to take the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) had to jump through quite a few hoops to exempt their kids from the test.

Citing concerns about over-testing, Mary and Tracy Finny sent an email to school administrators asking to have their children excused from the test. A response from the principal of West Side Elementary School in Marietta, Georgia said she is not aware of a provision in state law allowing kids not to take the tests.

“To my knowledge, there is not an opt-out option for the CRCT since these tests are mandated by state law,” Principal Karen Smits wrote. “I have forwarded your email to our Superintendent, Dr. Lembeck, and Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs for further guidance. Someone will be in touch soon.”

The Finney’s told Smits they were demanding, not requesting, an exemption, and Smits then scheduled a Wednesday morning meeting with the parents on the same Wednesday morning that CRCT testing was being conducted. Later that night, Smits cancelled the meeting, but the Finney’s say they didn’t check their email after the cancellation message was sent.

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The next morning, the Finney’s arrived at West Side Elementary School. They were greeted by the School Resource Officer, who told them that being on school grounds without a meeting scheduled was “kind of a trespassing thing.”

The Finneys took offense to the police officer’s presence, and told The Blaze they thought it was “pre-planned” because the officer “was there before the meeting.”

Nevertheless, the issue is being resolved in a way that pleases the Finneys, and their children are being exempted from the tests.

“We received an email from our assistant superintendent telling us that if our children return to school, they would be welcomed,” Tracy Finney said. “The teachers were notified that our children were not to be presented the CRCT Standardized Test, and that our documented refusal of the test would serve as evidence that we had refused the test and that our wishes would be upheld.

“They stated that we have been made aware of the consequences of our decision. The consequences are that we would meet with the [principal] and teachers to go over our children’s academic portfolio to determine their placement for the next school year. This, in our opinion, is a MUCH better solution to placing our children than a snapshot type test.”

Sources: The Blaze, The Marietta Daily Journal