Political attention comes to parents opting out of tests

SNOHOMISH — Lawmakers say they are listening to a group of a parents who are protesting funding cuts to education.

The parents, who created We Support Schools Snohomish, are letting their children, who are mostly elementary students, opt out of the Measurements of Students Progress tests to make legislators in Olympia pay attention and make them look for other ways to reduce spending.

So far, they have succeeded in half of their goals.

“This is a good way to put pressure on folks,” Rep. Hans Dunshee said. Dunshee, D-Snohomish, agrees with the parents’ protest because he believes the test does not serve an educational purpose and doesn’t help the kids.

Dunshee is not the only legislator who has expressed support for We Support Schools Snohomish. Reps. John McCoy and Mike Hope have already met with the parents’ group.

“I wasn’t expecting the amount of attention,” member Michelle Purcell said.

The movement started at Seattle Hill Elementary School where Purcell is keeping two of her children out of the exam.

So far, 70 children at the school will not be taking the test, which is given to students from third to eighth grade between late April and early June in the Snohomish School District.

The movement has spread to other schools in the district. Another 30 children at Little Cedars and Cathcart elementary schools are opting out, Purcell said.

Purcell also has received messages from parents in Everett, Tacoma and Marysville who have shown some interest. Since Snohomish schools were on spring break last week, Purcell believes the numbers of students not taking the test will increase after school resumes.

“It’s gaining momentum,” she said.

Representatives have been supportive of the idea of cutting standardized testing. Still, they have been cautious about supporting a boycott of this test, which affects the Adequate Yearly Progress — known as AYP — a federal requirement.

Students opting out of the test will receive a zero. These test scores could affect funding to schools categorized as Title I, which are given federal funding if they have high percentages of low-income students,

“Is it an appropriate message? I don’t know. I can’t tell them to violate the law,” said McCoy, D-Tulalip.

He agrees with the group that some standardized testing doesn’t help when scores are given out the next school year. The tests should be changed to where teachers can get the results earlier and be able to make adjustments to their instruction, McCoy said.

“If it’s not federally mandated, I want to eliminate it if it’s not accomplishing anything,” he said.

McCoy and Dunshee were two of 13 state legislators who sponsored House Bill 2231, which aimed to reduce state assessment requirements. The bill did not pass out of the Education Committee but was reintroduced during the special session.

Hope, R-Lake Stevens, said he plans to introduce a bill next year allowing parents and school districts to opt out of state-mandated tests without penalizing students and school districts.

“Parents in my community believe the resources that go to fund tests can be put to better use. I support their position 100 percent,” Hope said in an email.

At the heart of this debate is the No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2001, which requires standardized testing each year for students between 3rd and 8th grade and once between 10th and 12th grade.

Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, believes standardized testing is needed to check on students’ progress, but current testing is excessive.

“I thinks that’s too much. That’s loss of instructional time and the cost is too high,” she said.

Before, Washington state only gave testing for students in third, seventh and 10th grade, something school districts should go back to, McAuliffe said .

According to numbers provided by the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the state spends about $38.6 million on the Measurements of Students Progress.

The cost per student starts at $30, but since students might take more than one test, depending on their grade level, the per-student cost can reach up to $90.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@ heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

N3054V accident site. (Alaska State Trooper Photo)
Lake Stevens pilot, who lived ‘Alaska dream,’ died in Fairbanks crash

Former Snohomish County lawyer Harry “Ray” Secoy III, 63, worked as a DC-4 pilot in Alaska in the last years of his life.

Air and ground search and rescue teams found Jerry Riedinger’s plane near Humpback Mountain on Monday. (WSDOT photo)
Remains of pilot recovered near Snoqualmie Pass after Arlington flight

Jerry Riedinger never made it to Ephrata after departing the Arlington airport Sunday. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash.

Federal prosecutors say the two men shown here outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are Tucker Weston, left, and Jesse Watson. (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia)
Lynnwood roommates sentenced for roles in Jan. 6 riot

Tucker Weston was given two years in prison Thursday. Jesse Watson received three years of probation in August 2023.

Lynnwood
Lynnwood firm faces $790K in fines for improper asbestos handling

State regulators said this is the fifth time Seattle Asbestos of Washington violated “essential” safety measures.

A truck towing a travel trailer crashed into a home in the Esperance neighborhood Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (South County Fire)
Man seriously injured after his truck rolls into Edmonds home

One resident was inside the home in the 22500 block of 8th Avenue W, but wasn’t injured, fire officials said.

Ferry workers wait for cars to start loading onto the M/V Kitsap on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Memorial Day holiday weekend travel nightmare is upon us

Going somewhere this weekend? You’ll have lots of company — 44 million new BFFs — on planes, trains and automobiles.

Bothell
Bothell family says racism at Seattle Children’s led to teen’s death

In February 2021, Sahana Ramesh, the daughter of Indian immigrants, died after months of suffering from a rare disease.

Boeing Firefighters and supporters have a camp set up outside of Boeing on Airport Road as the company’s lockout of union firefighters approaches two weeks on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Union firefighters reject Boeing’s latest contract offer

The union’s 125 firefighters on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected the offer, which included “an improved wage growth” schedule

A “No Shooting” sign on DNR land near Spada Lake is full of bullet holes on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, along Sultan Basin Road near Sultan, Washington. People frequent multiple locations along the road to use firearms despite signage warning them not to. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
County pumps the brakes on planned Sultan shooting range

The $47 million project, in the works for decades, has no partner or funding. County parks officials are reconsidering its viability.

Suzan DelBene, left, Rick Larsen
Larsen, DelBene request over $40M for projects in Snohomish County

If approved, Congress would foot the bill for traffic fixes, public transit, LED lights and much more around the county.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.