The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Colorado school district votes to opt most students out of Common Core testing


The board of education in Colorado’s second largest city has voted to opt out most of its 30,000 students from new Common Core standardized testing and will ask the state government for flexibility to carry out its plan. It is the first district in the state and one of the first in the country to do so.

The action by the board of Colorado Springs School District 11 is the latest in a growing “test reform” movement around the country aimed at reducing the number and importance of standardized tests, with educators, students, parents, superintendents, legislators and others saying that high-stakes testing is perverting public education.

In recent weeks legislation has been introduced in Congress to reduce federal testing mandates, school boards have passed resolutions calling for a suspension of high-stakes testing, and more district superintendents have urged an overhaul of testing. One county in Florida, Lee, recently passed a resolution to stop all state-mandated testing — without offering an alternative — but quickly rescinded it after the superintendent warned of repercussions for students.

The Board of Education in Colorado Spring District 11 is taking a different approach than Lee. It voted to opt most students out of Common Core testing and then ask the state government for permission to assess a randomly selected group of students — enough to meet federal requirements. The tests involved the Common Core test created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Colorado Measures of Academic Success.

The resolution that passed unanimously this week also gives permission to parents to opt their own children out of these tests. KOAA-TV quoted Superintendent Nicolas Gledich as saying the district hopes to devise its own assessment system within the next three years.

Here’s the resolution: