A letter from the State of Florida’s education commissioner tells lawmakers that students cannot legally opt out of the state’s standardized tests.
The “Opt Out” movement in Florida is at the center of the controversial topic.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart wrote a letter to Florida senators advising them, that teachers and school districts could be in trouble if they let students or parents opt out of state testing.
But supporters of the “Opt Out” movement said once students break the seal on the test, they can refuse to take it, without any penalties.
“Why? Because the test is actually not a valid measure of what the kids need to know in order to be promoted," said parent Sandy Stenoff. "The teachers are much better at assessing where the students should be and what they need to know."
“What I want people to understand is that they do have the right to refuse to take these tests," said Cindy Hamilton with Opt Out Orlando. "Second language learners and kids who struggle in school, they need to know what they’re options are.”
Commissioner Stewart also wrote that students who don’t take the test could have their grade point averages lowered and also risk not meeting graduation requirements.
The Commissioner ended her letter by saying statewide testing helps Florida determine whether students have the knowledge and skills they need to be ready for careers and college-level course work.