Just a Thought – Don’t Take the Test

It’s that time of year again, when birds are singing, the aroma of flowers sweetens the breeze…and our kids are tying themselves into knots. Testing stress. The absolutely unneeded insanity that has invaded our children’s lives and held our school systems hostage. Everyone hates this; parents, children, teachers, and administrators.

I have a wonderful surprise for you. It’s optional.

Just the same way that you can have your child excused from Phys Ed if they are injured, or Sex Ed if you think they shouldn’t have that information (and I disagree; everyone needs that information) you have the right to exempt your child from testing.

Now, schools do not have the option to not administer the test. It’s a federal requirement, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and all that jazz. They are required to waste days and weeks and months of time that could be used for mind-opening, skill-building education that students would be enthused and excited about. It’s dangerous – that kind of education could lead to critical thinks skills, or self-esteem, or (omg) actual happiness.

I love CCUSD, and I want you know that they have to work with this handicap. But your kids don’t.

I’m also wanting to strike up a little chorus of the old Arlo Guthrie tune “Alice’s Restaurant.” If enough people walk into the office with a signed statement that says “My child is exempt from federal testing,” we could start a movement. If you let all the parents in your life know that the kids do not have to get tested, we might be able to start to liberate these teachers to do what they love to do; teach. We might even get the federal government to0 stop wasting time and money on a program that does nothing but quantify what is unmeasurable – education.

The Actors' Gang


  1. While I understand Judith’s sentiment, I would like to offer the perspective of someone who works in a school. If we have fewer than 95% of the students take the CST, we lost our API score completely. Since the API score is used for California Distinguished School, and is viewed as an important measure of how “good” a school is, it is a problem when we have a blank space for our API on the state reporting system. Here is a link to the state’s information for parents: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/documents/parentguide12.pdf

  2. I define a “good” school by how excited my child is about learning and the joy she feels in a creative environment. A good school allows for the individual learning style of each student. A good school cares about the social-emotional development of each student. A good school nurtures critical thinking. The only thing a standardized test score reveals is the ability to memorize information, a task which can be accomplished by any horse or primate with a little coaching.

  3. p.s. great article Judith. I gave up my battle with the Public School System and am happily ensconsed in a learning community that values my daughter for her unique gifts, abilities and talents. It is such a relief. I applaud you for your valiant efforts to try too affect change in a system that is run like a beaurocratic tight ship. You have more tenacity and will then I do for this particular fight. God bless you! My heart goes out to every child who is forced to fit into a cookie cutter mold of “education”. Lucky is the kid who has parents that take the time to investigate and notice what truly makes their children learn and grow. Ultimately it is our responsibilty to educate our children. We cannot trust a system that has no fundamental respect for, or even awareness of how kid’s best learn, thrive, grow and mature. yeah, it was that awful for me….I’m certain that I’m in the minority and as provocative and controversial as it can be, personally, I am eternally grateful for my charter school!

  4. I assume that the charter school students have to take the same CST as an other public school student in California. Charter schools are held to the same API standards as regular public district schools. In fact, many charter schools are more focused on API scores than regular district schools because they are keenly aware that they are judged by their API score.

  5. I think it’s complicated, and Christine makes some good points. No one wants to see “teaching to the test.” Nor stressing kids out with test anxiety. But tests are a part of life, and can provide benchmarks as to how well a school measures up to a basic set of standards, and (in my kid’s school’s case) how well a school addresses english language learners’ needs. And you can opt your kid out, of course, if you’re truly opposed. I always told my kids that the purpose of standardized tests was not really to measure their performance, but their school’s performance in imparting the basics to a wide range of kids. They never got stressed out about it – they seemed to get that.

  6. they take the test, but they most certainly do not focus on it all year long, thank God.

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