Parents of Younger Students Opt Out of Standardized Tests

Some parents make the decision out of fear their children may be left behind

By Ted Chen
|  Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013  |  Updated 1:49 AM PDT
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Khalid Al Alim is just one LAUSD parent who is becoming increasingly frustrated with standardized tests and is considering opting out on behalf of his children. Parents nationwide agree with Alex Caputo-Pearl, an LAUSD teacher, who said preparations for the standardized exams only narrow the curriculum. Ted Chen reports from South Los Angeles for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2013.

Ted Chen

Khalid Al Alim is just one LAUSD parent who is becoming increasingly frustrated with standardized tests and is considering opting out on behalf of his children. Parents nationwide agree with Alex Caputo-Pearl, an LAUSD teacher, who said preparations for the standardized exams only narrow the curriculum. Ted Chen reports from South Los Angeles for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2013.

A growing group of parents are letting their children skip out on standardized tests.

The movement has been flourishing on social media and particularly on the East Coast, but also in parts of Los Angeles, where parents are increasingly worried that with the modernizations of standardized testing, their children will be left behind.

With two children in a South LA elementary school, Khalid Al Alim was shocked to see how quickly his 6-year-old was confronted with a standardized test.

"Right off that bat, this year, the first focus was to get them ready for the testing next year," he said.

Al Alim is now considering opting out, joining a growing number of parents nationwide who feel their children are not being served by standardized tests.

He’s been working with Alex Caputo-Pearl, an LA teacher for two decades running to be president of the teacher’s union.

Caputo-Pearl said the tests hurt education.

"It narrows the curriculum so arts music culture cultural relevance critical thinking is often driven out of the curriculum," Caputo-Pearl said.

"When test scores are the bottom line, that incentivizes gaming the system. It incentivizes teachers trying to make sure they have the highest scoring students and we don't want that. No teacher wants that," he added.

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy has withdrawn his support for an overhaul of the state’s standardized testing system, saying it’s too expensive. Such tests are a big part of the Common Core Curriculum set to take effect next year.

Al Alim fears his children won’t be ready.

"The resources and the support there to help them understand why they're taking the test and to help them do well on the test are just not there," he said.

Right now, parents of younger students are the ones opting out. High school students must take the standardized tests in order to graduate.

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