A school district asked the police to prohibit certain students from setting foot on school property because their parents had privacy concerns about Common Core-aligned standardized testing, and wished to opt their kids out.
The incident happened at Marietta City Schools in Marietta, Georgia. The Finney family didn’t want their three children — in third grade, fifth grade and ninth grade — to participate in the state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, partly because of the vast amounts of data the government is collecting about their children, and partly because they think the tests don’t serve a compelling educational interest, according to The Marietta Daily Journal.
Their sentiments are shared by a growing number of parents around the country, who increasingly see standardized tests as a costly bureaucratic tool that allows the government to gather personal information about kids. Criticisms of the tests are closely linked to criticisms of Common Core, the new national education curriculum standards that are fiercely opposed by both conservative grassroots and teachers unions.
“They are collecting data on our children,” said Mary Finney in a statement. “Now, with Common Core there is such a large amount of information and data collected on children. People don’t realize it. We don’t want to sound like we’re wearing tin-foil hats, but they want to track our kids from kindergarten through college.”
The Finney family attempted to opt out of the tests, but administrators were unsure whether they were legally permitted to do so.
And then — at West Side Elementary School — a police officer barred the Finneys from setting foot on school property.
If the kids weren’t going to take the tests, their presence at school was a “kind of trespassing thing,” according to the officer.
Administrators sent an email to the parents advising them that their children would also be barred from attending school on CRCT makeup test days.
Randy Weiner, a school board chairman, said he would not force the kids to take the tests, although he found it hard to sympathize with their position.
“Generally speaking, if it were my kids who simply were stressed out about taking the CRCT, I would tell them to get with the program and that they would be taking the CRCT today,” he said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.