CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A North Carolina sixth grader was told to leave school after she refused to take new state tests which are related to the new national Common Core standards.
Zoe Morris, a student at a Chapel Hill middle school, and her father, Charlie, began researching Common Core after Zoe became increasingly frustrated in class, reports the Heartlander.
Charlie said he became alarmed about the new national standards after he realized “teachers were teaching from scripts.”
“Kids would ask questions in class and the teachers would say, ‘I can’t answer that – it isn’t part of the curriculum,’” Zoe said.
In an effort to raise awareness about the negative effects of Common Core, Zoe opted not to take the new state tests.
Charlie notified the district several weeks prior to the scheduled testing dates that Zoe would not take part. Initially, administrators said Zoe could still attend school during those days, reports the news site.
However, on the day of testing, the school principal told Zoe to take the test or leave, according to Charlie. A district lawyer told Charlie that Zoe had to take the test or being held back a grade level.
Ultimately, Zoe sat for the test but abstained from answering any questions.
“The district doesn’t have a choice but to comply with North Carolina Department of Instruction (NCDI) policies,” said Jeffery Nash, a spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrborough City Schools.
According to NCDI policy, a school does not have to test students who are not present, but if an untested student returns within 10 days, he or she must take a make-up test, reports the news site.
This gets “sticky” because students are required to attend a certain number of school days in order to advance to the next grade level, said Nash.
No Child Left Behind requires schools to test 95 percent of students. Schools that do not show adequate yearly progress risk losing federal funds.
“When faced with the possibility of sanctions, state education departments and districts often employ their own consequence regimes,” said Robert Schaeffer, a public education director for the advocacy nonprofit group Fair Test.
But parents are not powerless.
“Parents who are fed up with over-testing in schools” may encourage school boards and state lawmakers to defer implementation of Common Core, Schaeffer said.
In the meantime, Charlie and Zoe have launched the Blue Hat Movement, an open forum for parents and teachers to voice their concerns about testing.