Churchill County students may not opt out of Common Core testing | NevadaAppeal.com

Churchill County students may not opt out of Common Core testing

Christine Kuklica
ckuklica@lahontanvalleynews.com

Churchill County School District Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon said even though the state superintendent of instruction is allowing students to opt out of Common Core testing, Churchill County School District is still requiring students to take the tests.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt clarified recently that school districts have the option to allow parents to opt their children out of the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium Career and Readiness Test for third-eighth grade.

Laxalt recently told state Superintendent Dale Erquiaga he found nothing in state law making the tests mandatory. The state superintendent issued a memo to all school districts, saying the law does give the final decision to the school districts. Sheldon, though, said students are not allowed opt out of testing. Since the final decision is left up to the district at this moment, she said missing the test is not an option.

"I am hereby revoking those portions of Guidance Memorandum no. 13-02 pertaining to criterion-referenced tests," Erquiaga said. "This office will not prohibit opting out of the CRTs. Further, pursuant to the AGO, I am giving the discretion as to whether the 2014-15 CRTs are mandatory or optional to individual school districts and charter schools. School Districts and charter schools are advised to respond to a request to opt out of criterion-referenced tests, and any refusal to participate in such tests, as they deem appropriate and/or as they are advised by legal counsel."

Sheldon further explained her decision.

"The decision is up to the district to decide on opting out and at this time testing is still mandatory," Sheldon said. "There has been no discussion at this point about the change; however, we have to realize our district could face consequences if we decide to opt out of testing. I've talked to other superintendents in surrounding districts and they're not allowing the opt out option either."

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Jim Falk, secretary of the Fallon Tea Party and a vocal opponent of Common Core standards and testing, said he believes there is no law requiring students to take the test and that parents should be able to opt out of testing. He said parents need to inform themselves more about the testing schools are administering to their children.

"There is a movement of parents and teachers that are opposing Common Core all over the country," Falk said. "These people are opting out of testing for the sake of their children. The CRTs don't benefit the children and will not help them with their future, in fact it will hinder them."

Falk said the students are tested on material that hasn't been taught in class. He said the only people who benefit from the testing are the companies who sell the test and collect the data. He said the tests are $30 each.

Sheldon said the state pays for the tests.

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