Senate adopts Isakson’s opt-out amendment on standardized tests

The U.S. Senate passed an amendment by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to the “Every Child Achieves Act” that aims to inform parents about opting out of standardized testing.

Isakson’s amendment, which was passed by a unanimous vote Tuesday, would require any local educational agency that receives federal Title I funds to notify parents of each student attending school that they may request information regarding any state or local policy, procedure, or parental right regarding participation in mandated assessments.

During debate on the amendment, Isakson, who was chairman of the Georgia Board of Education from 1997-99, took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support his amendment.

“Every parent has the right to know whether or not the state allows an opt-out or not” from standardized testing, Isakson said. “That way, if a state does not allow the ability for parents to opt their child out of testing, then it is a parent’s right as a citizen to go to the Board of Education to voice their opinion and ask for an opt-out.”

A vote on final passage of the "Every Child Achieves Act" is expected this week. The act is Congress' attempt to rewrite the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. It aims to whittle away at the federal role in education policy and instead shift to the states decisions about how to use the required reading and math assessments to measure school and teacher performance.