Yesterday, my bill to protect parents and students who refuse standardized tests was heard by the K-12 Education Subcommittee.
Why would parents want to refuse, or "opt out," of tests? Some have documented medical reasons, some feel the tests are excessive and provide no real benefit, some have privacy concerns over the questions asked on the tests, and others object to Federal control just on principle.
Parents from the Upstate, Midlands, and the Lowcountry told how their kids were singled out, punished, and even threatened with expulsion for refusing tests such as the ACT Aspire.
While the committee was sympathetic to the plight of these parents, they voted the bill down by a vote of 5-2. The the most prominent concern was losing Federal funding (do you think $216 million is a fair price for your parental rights? Some politicians think so).
Voting against H4330 were:
Rep. Rivers momentarily stepped out of the meeting to use the restroom, and the vote was taken before he got back. He would have voted in favor:
I plan to re-file the bill for next year's session. The good part about yesterday's meeting is that it did provide the opportunity to begin building support for this legislation, and has led to the State Superindent taking action to encourage a uniform state-wide policy for handling test refusals.