Is opt-out a ‘white power’ movement?


The opt-out movement is the Left’s “white power movement,” writes Derrell Bradford on Eduwonk.

“The typical opt-out activist is a highly educated, white, married, politically liberal parent whose children attend public school and whose household median income is well above the national average,” states a Teachers’ College report.

“Annual testing, disaggregated results and an emphasis on year-over-year test score growth” has “radically changed the discussion around the education of low-income kids of color for the better,” he argues.

But when “white soccer moms decide they don’t like the most important device to help us fix”  inner-city schools, “left-leaning politicians listen,” he writes.  “The president makes a speech about too much testing. The Democrats revise their platform.”

“Opt-outers tend to consider themselves ‘progressives’ so they don’t like to see themselves as the privileged few who put their kids’ comfort ahead of the needs of other school children,” writes Tracy Dell’Angela on Citizen Ed. “But it turns out that’s exactly who they are.”

The Teachers’ College survey shows the opt-out movement is dominated by teachers’ concerns about tying test results to teacher evaluation, she writes. Almost a fifth of opt-out activists don’t have school-age children and some who do send them to private school.

Opt-outers don’t know what’s best for the families who are the real victims of the anti-accountability movement—black and brown students, disabled kids and students learning English, students from low-income families, all those students ill-served by our nation’s worst schools and some of our best schools too.

We now have the data that reveals opt-out for what it really is: a luxury, afforded to white, affluent taxpayers and parents who are blessed with well-funded schools, stable teaching staffs, and some assurance that their privilege will pave the way for their child’s success.

Esther Cepeda, a Washington Post columnist, has returned to teaching in a Chicago suburb. (I think she may be teaching at my old high school, which is now 20 percent Hispanic.)

She defends testing as imperfect, but essential. “On the whole, the tests are, like pulse and blood pressure, vital signs of how students progress academically.”

Here’s the Ed Next forum on the opt-out movement.

Via Joanne Jacobs