Parents who dislike the use of standardized tests for key decisions now have found strength in numbers, as Florida hosts a national opt out meeting.
In Florida, the FCAT and the new Florida Standards Assessments are used for many key decisions, including teacher evaluations and student promotion. Interest in opting out was small just a year ago, but has been steadily growing.
When the Lee County school district decided to have its entire district skip state tests, the change in attitude was noticed in the public. The Lee County district then reversed itself.
As a further indicator of increased interest in opting out, Opt Out Orlando now has almost 1600 members; a year ago, they only had several hundred.
In Florida, participation in state testing is mandatory, according to Commissioner Pam Stewart. Opt out advocates maintain that there are ways to decline participation.