As Seattle NAACP president Gerald Hankerson put it, 

“…the Opt Out movement is a vital component of the Black Lives Matter movement and other struggles for social justice in our region. Using standardized tests to label black people and immigrants ‘lesser,’ while systematically under-funding their schools, has a long and ugly history in this country.”

"We respectfully disagree that the proliferation of high stakes assessments and top-down interventions are needed in order to improve our schools. What happens because of these tests is not improvement. It’s destruction."* 



Ibram Kendi

“Standardized tests have become the most effective racist weapon ever devised to objectively degrade Black minds and legally exclude their bodies”--Why the Academic Achievement Gap is a Racist Idea – AAIHS 


Denisha Jones (Visiting Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Howard University)

“It’s like thinking taking your temperature is going to cure your flu. Testing will never change the achievement gap.“ HuffPo: Are White Parents the Only Ones Who Hate Standardized Testing?


Noliwe Rooks

(Megan, Are these quotes from from Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education)

“In the twenty-first century, standardized tests are a key feature of how wealthy educational investors and school reformers ensure that highly racially and economically segregated apartheid school districts remain lucrative.”

“”The playing field is far from level when we continue to use tests that we know at the outset will show that wealthy students do better than less wealthy students and that white and Asian students outperform everyone else.”

“...a growing number of parents, school boards, teachers, and civil rights organizations are beginning to question the fairness of our overreliance on standardized tests.”


William Barber

"Tests don’t teach ... We don’t send our kids to school to become skilled test takers ... Our sons and daughters can’t reach these heights when accountability in our education system hinges on standardized test scores, not cultivating intellectual opportunity—the real measure of education." --http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/education/247770-fix-public-education-end-high-stakes-testing-pass-esea


Jesse Hagopian

"...we view the opt out movement as a vital component of the Black Lives Matter movement and other struggles for social justice.  Using standardized tests to label Black people and immigrants as lesser—while systematically underfunding their schools—has a long and ugly history.  It is true we need accountability measures, but that should start with politicians be accountable to fully funding education and ending the opportunity gap." -- http://progressive.org/public-school-shakedown/six-reasons-opt-movement-good-students-parents-color/


Jose Luis Vilson

NYTimes MAY 13, 2014: Opting out one’s child almost forces a school to judge children through other, perhaps better characteristics. If we continue to move in the direction of de-emphasizing testing as the de facto measure for student success and instead, developing a myriad of measures for our students, opting-out would mean opting-in for more integrated and hands-on child learning. That’s something we should all advocate for.  -- https://www.c-span.org/video/?327725-4/washington-journal-jose-luis-vilson-education-reform

Mostly boring interview but at 22 minute mark JLV discusses that 8th graders are tested from March through the end of the year. They have a test a week during that time, making it hard to teach at the same time.

This Is Not A Test: 
When school systems use only high stakes tests to determine things like school funding, graduation criteria, and teacher evaluation, the pressure to perform often falls more on the student than anyone else. Pg. 161

The change we seek must come from the people in the school building. Pg. 162

I can’t help but feel that when my students walk out of their exams, they aren’t just frustrated by the inordinate amount of testing they are subjected to. They’re starting to sense that the process of schooling in and of itself was not actually designed with them in mind--a feeling those of us born into poverty and racism know all too well. Pg. 20

Pedro Noguera

If opting out of high-stakes testing is a parent's chosen way to express dissatisfaction with an assessment system that has failed his or her child, civil rights and education advocates should support this quest for a real opportunity to learn in a healthy living and learning climate.

Most states realized long ago that the [NCLB] law's goals, including that of 100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014, were unattainable. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education wisely began to allow states to opt out of meeting this unreasonable requirement. Parents, likewise, have the right to opt out of tests when they realize states have not done the work of guaranteeing that their children are being adequately prepared.

...students of color are susceptible to all of the negative effects of the annual assessments, without any of the positive supports to address the learning gaps.

When testing is used merely to measure and document inequities in outcomes, without providing necessary supports, parents have a right to demand more.

The civil rights movement has never supported compliance with unjust laws and policies. Rather, it has always worked to challenge them and support the courageous actions of those willing to resist.

The anti-testing movement will not be intimidated, nor is it going away. The No Child Left Behind Act and annual tests have long outlived their usefulness. It is time for a change. Throughout the country, parents, teachers, and students are calling for an alternative to the test-and-punish culture in our schools.

...parents want more than tests to assess their children's academic standing and, as a result, are choosing to opt out of an unjust, ineffective policy. It's time to listen to these parents and support their efforts to ensure that all children have an opportunity to learn.


Yohuru Williams

“...testing will continue to feed, not eradicate the real great civil rights issue of our time; the growing school to prison pipeline, which like a malignant cancer, continues to eat away at the fabric of many inner cities by robbing students of their future.”

“In the same way that segregation laws limited opportunity under Jim Crow, high stakes testing has become one of the primary instruments of exclusion in support of what legal scholar Michelle Alexander has termed the New Jim Crow.”


John Dewey
“How one person’s abilities compare in quantity with those of another is none of the teacher’s business. It is irrelevant to his work.”