By Brad McQueen
Can Arizonan parents opt-out of the new Common Core AZMerit test due to be inflicted upon their children in April 2015? The format of this new Common Core AZMerit test may make it easier for parents to do just that.
The Arizona Department of Education claims that parents in our state may not opt their kids out of state testing based on an outdated 2013 opinion by Attorney General Tom Horne’s office regarding our state’s previous test, the AIMS test.
Soon-to-be former Arizona Attorney General and former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne and soon-to-be former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joined forces to bring Common Core into our state in 2010.
Related article: Common Core Machine rolls over Arizona
The AZ Department of Education relies heavily on our attorney general’s interpretation of A.R.S 15-102 which states that, “parents who object to any learning material or activity on the basis that it is harmful may withdraw their children from the activity or from the class or program in which the material is used.”
The Attorney General’s office claims that, in their interpretation of A.R.S 15-102, the statewide AIMS test is not a “learning material or activity” and therefore does not qualify for parent review or opting out.
This may have been true of the previous AIMS test, which the opinion is referring to, but the new Common Core AZMerit testing format does present new learning materials to test takers.
All of the Common Core tests have a “research simulation model” as part of the language arts test. In the Common Core language they are called “performance tasks”.
The research simulation model must be structured to imitate doing an actual research project and cannot rely on previous knowledge taught in the classroom, rather all the information the test takers need must be presented on the test.
The research simulation model presents kids with several informational reading passages and perhaps a video on a chosen topic usually from the areas of science or social studies. The kids are then asked to type an essay about the topic and support their writing with evidence from all of the “expert” sources they are presented with on the test.
Kids are basically being presented with new learning materials on the test which they must demonstrate their understanding of by writing an essay extracting the relevant information from the reading passages.
Parents should be able to review these materials on the test per A.R.S 15-102 and decide if the subject matter is appropriate and decide if they would like to opt their kids out of being exposed to these materials.
Parents should definitely review the tests as many of the informational passages use information from the content areas of science and social studies where the Common Core has already demonstrated their desire to imbue our history and science with a decidedly far-left reimagining. They’ve already done this to the Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum.
If enough parents opt-out of testing the test results may be invalidated making the Common Core AZMerit test useless. This is exactly what the AZ Department of Education and Common Core fear most.
Here is the link to the United Opt-Out website’s information for Arizona:http://saynotocommoncore.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Arizona.pdf
Here is the link to Tom Horne’s opinion on opting out where his office continually refers to the National Opt-Out website: LINK TO OPNION
Brad McQueen is a former Common Core insider and current public school teacher in Tucson, Arizona and is the author of the anti-Common Core book “The Cult of Common Core”. Connect with Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org