Proposed Bill Gives Oklahoma Parents Power Over Standardized Tests

Tuesday, January 28th 2014, 11:40 pm

Standardized tests have a lot of parents up in arms. They say students are spending too much time testing and not enough time learning.

An Oklahoma state senator has filed a bill that would give parents more power.

The proposed law would allow parents to opt their children out of standardized testing, without the student or school being penalized.

One Oologah mother said she jumped through hoops last year to make sure her children didn't have to stress over tests.

With three kids in school, and as a teacher herself, Nikki Jones knows tests are part of the package.

"I care a lot about education," said Jones.

But she said standardized testing forces teachers to change their curriculum to focus on year-end tests, hurting the kids in the long run.

"Children are getting robbed of a quality education because of testing," Jones said.

For Jones, the test stress is taking the fun away from learning, while adding unnecessary pressure on teachers and students alike.

"It's just too much and one test doesn't determine my child," said Jones.

So last year, Jones decided to take matters into her own hands, by pulling her two youngest out of testing.

She said she withdrew her 6th grader for the week of testing, to homeschool him, then, re-enrolled him when testing was finished.

Her 3rd grader was able to fill out a refuse to test option without penalizing him or the school.

"They're in the gifted and talented program, they test well, but I still don't want them to think that anything they do on a piece of paper reflects what anyone thinks of them and that's what's happening," Jones said.

State Senator Dan Newberry, said his office has heard from countless parents, just like Jones.

"We've had discussions with parents where their children are coming home and they're not sleeping at night and some of them even having some physical difficulties," Newberry said.

He said parents and teachers should decide if testing is right for each student. And his legislation, he said, will empower parents, while preserving their rights in the education process.

Jones said her kids test well and make good grades, but said the high-stress is too hard on them.

She said she worked closely with administrators on both the local and state level to make sure her kids were removed from testing legally.

As for the bill, it's only been filed, and the legislative session doesn't start until next week.


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