An eighth-grade student at Whitesburg Middle School in Huntsville, Ala. was suspended from school twice for declining to take a standardized test that she says is associated with the Common Core Standards Initiative.
The student is Alyssa McKinney, reports WAAY-TV.
The 14-year-old girl told the ABC affiliate that she informed school officials that she had chosen not to take the test, which took place over the course of three days.
In response, school officials promptly sentenced McKinney to two full days of in-school suspension — for “defiance,” according to Malissa Valdes-Hubert, public information manager for the Alabama Department of Education.
Valdes-Hubert was unable to provide a reference to a state law which allows schools districts to suspend students for refusing to take part in tests which are not part of their academic coursework, as appears to be the case here.
When McKinney stood firm and refused to participate in the third and final day of testing, school officials suspended her from school altogether.
Both the in-school suspension and the outright suspension may have contravened policies established by the Alabama Department of Education.
A May 2 statement on the Alabama Department of Education’s Facebook page (in response to a remark by another Facebook user) explains: “Parents can choose to have their child be absent (and follow all local absentee policies) or have their child work in a supervised area of the school. They should put their refusal in writing and give to their school.”
(It’s not clear if the eighth grader’s mother, Molly Overton, provided written notice.)
School officials refused to speak to WAAY.
Another batch of standardized testing begins this week in Alabama with the ACT Aspire test.
Overton told the station that she has put school officials on written notice that her daughter won’t be taking that test, either.
This academic year, for the first time, 46 states and the District of Columbia began implementing all or part of the Common Core standards, which attempts to standardize K-12 curricula in English and math around the country.
The incident in Alabama could be the first time a student has been suspended for refusing to take a Common Core-related test. Last month, however, a mother in Sacramento was banned from the premises of Mark Twain Elementary School for 14 days after her 12-year-old son distributed information to his classmates showing students and parents how to opt out of Common Core testing. (RELATED: You Won’t Believe What Happened To This Kid’s Mom After She Knocked Common Core)
Criticism of the Common Core has risen to a fever pitch. Opposition has brought together conservatives who are against a federal takeover of public education and leftists who deplore evermore standardized testing.
Last month, across the state of New York, this year’s Common Core English tests for students ranging from third to eighth grades reportedly featured a slew of brand-name products including iPod, Barbie, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers. For Nike, the tests even conveniently included the shoe company’s ubiquitous slogan: “Just Do It.” (RELATED: Mandatory Common Core tests in New York just happen to be full of corporate brand names)