EVERETT, Wash. – A group of Snohomish County parents are grabbing the attention of lawmakers and school districts by opting their kids out of a standardized test to protest education cuts.
The group at Seattle Hills Elementary School in Everett started a Facebook page called "We Support Schools - Snohomish" They're fed up with budget cuts and felt the need to do something drastic to get administrators’ and lawmakers’ attention.
"Parents aren't seeing the value in these tests. I get the results back and I’m like, ‘OK. Doesn't mean anything to me,’" said Michelle Purcell who helped spearhead the movement.
Purcell opted her kids out of the Measurements Of Students Progress (MSP) test. The test is for 3rd to 8th graders and typically taken in late April or May. When a student opts out of the MSP, he or she will get a "zero" and that will affect the school's overall test scores.
Purcell said it's her way of making a statement against what she calls wasteful spending.
"We all feel our children need to be assessed. It's not about eliminating assessments. We just need to find a smarter, more cost effective way to do so," said Purcell.
According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the state spends about $38 million on the MSP, which breaks down to $30 per student. The parents feel those millions of dollars could be better spent on teachers and preventing large class sizes.
“They don't even get these test scores well into the following school year, so it's not benefiting my child to take this test and it's not ultimately benefiting the school district," said parent Erin McBrien, who has opted her children out.
Some parents are concerned students are being taught to take a test instead of being critical thinkers.
“The time it takes not only to administer, but all the prepping, teachers have to take out of teaching. They're teaching for the test" said parent Suzanne Morgan, whose children also are not taking the test.
The Snohomish County School District said it respects a parent’s right to choose whether their child will take the test.
The parents also recently met with state lawmakers, who are looking into drafting bills that would address state assessment requirements and that would not penalize students or districts that opt out of standardized tests.