Parents Cannot Opt Out Of AzMERIT

Published: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 9:11am
Updated: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 2:41pm

Parents will not be able to opt their children out of statewide standardized tests like AzMERIT.

Arizona does this testing to ensure students are making satisfactory progress and to allow comparison among students at different schools. There's a requirement under federal law for states to test at least 95 percent of all students every year or face losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid.

Those opposed to required testing had called for an opt-out measure as a way for parents to have more control over their children's education. Much of the opposition focused on the AzMERIT test, which is linked to Common Core academic standards that have provoked a great deal of controversy.

Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said, "It is important that we empower parents, that we tell parents that they are in charge of their children. When we have a vote like that, we are telling parents, no, we know what's best for your children."

But most senators voted against opt-outs on Monday. Instead they adopted another measure which requires the state Board of Education to adopt various alternatives to AzMERIT and allow districts to choose from a list of options. That measure gained unanimous approval and was sent to the governor.

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