Can’t have their daughters taking the same test as the commoners.
Thousands of public school parents around the country are opting their children out of taking high-stakes standardized tests this spring, tired of the emphasis on high-stakes testing and concerned about the validity of the assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards or similar standards. A growing number of principals and superintendents are supporting parents in this decision, though pushback is getting stronger from others. But, says educator Alan Singer, there is another way to opt out your child from standardized testing — send them, if you can afford it, to a private school that doesn’t give them.
The Obamas, for example, send their two daughters to the elite Sidwell Friends School, a private Quaker preK-12 school with campuses in Washington D.C., and Bethesda, Md. Sidwell, like other independent schools, does not bombard its students with high-stakes standardized tests. (It also doesn’t evaluate teachers by the test scores of their students, a policy promoted by the Obama administration.)
Here’s a piece from Singer on why parents have chosen to opt out their children from these tests, albeit in different ways. Singer is social studies educator in the Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, and the editor of Social Science Docket (a joint publication of the New York and New Jersey Councils for Social Studies). He taught at a number of secondary schools in New York City, including Franklin K. Lane High School and Edward R. Murrow High School. He is also the author of several books. A version of this originally appeared on his Huffington Post blog.
By Alan Singer
It was easy for Barack and Michelle Obama to opt-out. They send Sasha and Malia to the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. where tuition is about $35,000 a year and students do not take high-stakes Common Core-aligned tests. The Obamas chose this school in part because it offers children an enriched curriculum, not constant test prep. It was also easy for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to opt-out her children. According to her 2013 tax returns, her children, ages 12 and 7, attend the private Capitol Hill Day School, where they do not have to take high-stakes standardized tests either.
Wealthy celebrities are unwittingly part of the opt-out movement because their children attend or attended expensive private schools where they do not have to take high-stakes state-mandated standardized tests. They include Tom Cruise (daughter Suri, Avenues school in New York) and the children of the Jolie-Pitt clan (Lycée Français de New York).