Black Education / Schools : Opt-out movement aims to lure more African-American, Latino parents


Aug 28, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of students last year skipped state end-of-year assessments.

PHILADELPHIA — Wanted: African-American and Latino parents tired of testing.

White suburban parents were the driving force of an opt-out movement in which hundreds of thousands of students last year skipped state end-of-year assessments. But this year, local and national organizers are speaking candidly of their desire and efforts to broaden the crusade that some testing proponents have mocked on Twitter using #optoutsowhite. As this year’s testing season ramps up, they are tackling head on a key argument long backed bythe civil rights establishment: Students who aren’t tested aren’t counted.

The movement “can’t be successful without the urban” parents’ involvement, said Shakeda Gaines, an African-American mother of four active in the Opt Out Philly group. She recently described her teen’s emotional problems related to testing at the Opt Out United National conference in February in her hometown of Philadelphia. Gaines said these parents are the ones “really getting trapped” by the burden of test policies and “they need to know what their rights are.”

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