• More and more parents opting out of standardized testing


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - All public school students have to take standardized tests, but more parents are telling their children to skip it.
    Channel 9 looked into the growing number of parent groups not only advocating against high-stakes testing, but also coaching parents on how to keep their kids from answering any questions on the test.
    Sandy Stenoff's oldest son took Florida's standardized test. Her younger children will not.
    Stenoff, an Orange County mother of three, is one of a growing number of parents who want their children judged only by their classwork and teachers, not statewide testing.
    And it's not just Orange County.
    Across the state, groups are popping up to not just fight standardized testing, but also coach parents on how to defeat the test.
    Cindy Hamilton is with a group called Opt Out Orlando.
    “One of the ways out of some of this testing is to refuse to take these tests," Hamilton said.
    Kids are told to log in to the test, answer no questions and then log out. The group said the score is recorded as present, but no grade is given.
    It doesn't help the district average, nor does it hurt.
    “What it does, however, is (it) denies the data that is fueling this test machine," Hamilton said.
    The push-back against state tests has even reached the district level.
    Last month in Brevard County, the board drafted a petition asking the state to back off of testing.
    But parents said working with the state was too slow. Meanwhile kids were being judged by a single snapshot instead of a body of work.
    Stenoff said her kids, who attend Durrance Elementary, will not take part in that snapshot.
    “It's unfair to teachers, it's unfair to the children,” Stenoff said.
    The Florida Department of Education said it does not track the total number of kids that opt out of testing statewide.
    Orange County Public Schools told WFTV it does not have a specific statement or position on the practice.

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