In a recent article, parents, students, and teachers have united against taking or administering high-stakes testing through an opt-out movement which could continue to fuel racism in education. The movement seems to present an alternative to accountability that is necessary in any industry. Students, parents, and educators should continue high stakes testing as a measure of educational effectiveness to ensure that racism in education comes to a stand still.

According to the article, there are five proposed myths associated with the opt-out movement which include:

  1. Standardized testing is needed to address the racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps.
  2. High-stakes standardized testing is needed to hold teachers and districts accountable.
  3. Opting out does not prepare children for the real world.
  4. Opting out is just for white middle-class families who care only about their own children.
  5. Opting out does nothing to stop the testing industrial complex.

Why is standardized testing needed to address the racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps? 

The reality is that standardized testing is not necessary to eliminate racism in education. Since 1972, the United States Department of Education has kept track of the academic progress of all ethnicities. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative​e and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. Paper-and-pencil assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, U.S. history, and in Technology and Engineering Literacy​ (TEL).

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, White students continue outperform both Black and Hispanic students. White students are only outperformed by Asian students. Since this standardized testing has existed since 1972, it is impossible for the opt-out movement to be a product of high stakes testing.

Could the real cause for the opt-out movement be a product of the accountability necessary to eliminate racism in education? 

According to second myth, high-stakes standardized testing is needed to hold teachers and districts accountable. If teachers are held accountable for the continued failing of Black and Hispanic students then they will not attain and increase in pay. Persons who do not attain an increase in pay will not be able to financially keep up with the economical increases in America. The eventual outcome is that they will become part of the poor working class. Many of the students that they serve and continue to fail to prepare for a brighter future are part of the poor class.

Will holding teachers and districts accountable through high stakes testing eliminate the possibilities associated with racism in education?

Without holding teachers accountable through high stakes testing the perpetuation of institutionalized racism in education will continue.

The first organization that Black students enter and become subjected to institutionalized racism is the school. We know that institutionalized racism exist due to the disciplinary consequences that are delved out to Black preschool students as well as their continued academic failures are derived from a 78% White female teaching staff. According to the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Black children overwhelmingly represent students who are suspended from school.

The major reason that institutionalized racism is such a great problem to overcome is due to the impact that schools has on the White economy. There is a projected 3.7 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) elementary and secondary school teachers who were engaged in classroom instruction in fall 2012. Since 78% of the teachers are White female that is the equivalent of 2.886 million teachers. The average salary for a teacher is $44,384.00. The amount that is contributed to the White economy is $128 billion annually.

The teaching profession provides additional advantages to the White family. Since teachers have every evening off, every weekend off, every holiday off, and every summer off, it provides White female teachers an opportunity to contribute to the household finances and to care for their children too.

The opt-out movement continues to perpetrate racism in education while Black and Hispanic students continue to be entrenched in a cycle of generational poverty for which there seems to be no end.

Related Articles

When Tests Get Real

Opting out isn’t an option in the real world

Parent Opt-Out Movement: Engine of Common Core Unraveling?

How Does the Opt-Out Movement Intend to Close Achievement Gaps?


Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology


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