As schools across Pennsylvania begin administering annual standardized tests this week, there is growing debate about the opportunity to opt out of the exams.
Pittsburgh parent Kathy Newman is pulling her third-grader out of the tests known as the PSSAs. She says the exams “warp the educational environment” and are too stressful for students and teachers.
The PSSAs are given to students in grades 3-8 and 11. Schools that don’t perform well could receive extra oversight, new staffs or be shut down.
Newman wants others to follow her “act of civil disobedience.” The law allows parents to opt out, but only if test material conflicts with their religious beliefs.
Opting out is extremely rare: Only 260 out of about 932,000 students sat out of the exams last year.