More students opt out of Common Core test

Standardized tests set to begin later this month

Students take notes (KOIN 6 News, file)
Students take notes (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Nearly 1,000 students in the Portland Public School District and about 33% of the junior class at Lake Oswego High School have opted out of taking new standardized tests set for later this month.

Opponents say the Smarter Balanced assessments aren’t fair and that taking them doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons.

“It definitely is a waste of precious school time, waste of our resources, waste of our teachers’ time,” Lake Oswego junior Blake Mindemann said.

He and Daniel Vogel are two of the more than 100 students at LOHS who opted out of the Common Core exams. Their argument is the tests don’t accurately measure student and teacher ability.

“If I don’t need to do it for graduation because I can meet state requirements with SAT or PSAT or whatever –  which 90% of the students can do – and it’s not going toaffect the school ranking, why should I take the test?” Vogel said.

Questions like that prompted the school district to send a letter home to parents listing the reason their student should take the assessment – at a state cost of about $7 million.

That money goes into the pockets of the companies behind the test.

“They’re making money off of making people test,” Mindemann said. “I feel like that’s not their place to do that. Theyre not educators, they’re businessmen.”

Students from LOHS expressed their concerns regarding the Common Core exams in front of the school board Monday night.

“Our movement is not about taking a test, it’s about changing how we learn, how we educate, how to help those that up until this point haven’t had the opportunity we had,” a Lake Oswego junior said in front of the board.

Cleveland High School’s Laura Isabella said the ongoing effort to educate fellow students about their test options continue to be met with resistance.

“The student union made posters and we hung them up in the hallway,” she said, “and they all got torn down by the administration.”

Still the number of students opting out continues to grow, including 79 in Beaverton.

“It just can’t work having everybody in America take the same test,” Isabella said.

Several bills in Salem are aimed at prohibiting any results from an SBA test from being used to rate schools or evaluate teachers.

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