I take exception to the March 2 Portland Press Herald editorial suggesting that the bill notifying parents of their right to opt their children out of standardized testing is “a poor way to push for school testing change.”

The editorial claims that “a small number of opt-outs won’t make a difference.” I would argue that many significant changes in this country started with symbolic acts, such as a few young people sitting down at a lunch counter where they were not wanted or one woman refusing to take a seat at the back of a bus.

We are warned in the editorial that if this small act of a few parents does indeed lead to large numbers opting out, schools’ federal funding could be in jeopardy.

Ending this counterproductive linkage between standardized test scores and schools’ funding is another reason to support this movement. How a school measures up in standardized testing has less to do with internal factors than with the external factors of poverty and inequitable distribution of resources. Lastly, I believe that parents’ best hope to push for a change in school culture resides in just the sort of collective action that is possible if more parents are informed of their right to opt out. If enough parents resist, we can break the tyranny of corporate standardized tests over our educational system and how educators and schools are valued and funded.

It might also prove to be the death knell for another ineffective, culturally biased test that strikes unnecessary dread in the hearts of many a parent and student: the SAT. Academic studies, including one done by Bowdoin College, have demonstrated that there is no correlation between students’ SAT scores and their achievement in college.

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