EXCLUSIVE: How Does ESSA Affect Opt Outs? Part 4

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is the fourth in a series of exchanges about the Every Student Succeeds Act. I asked the questions, and David P. Cleary, Senator Lamar Alexander’s chief of staff, responded.

What does the law say about parent opt outs from testing? Are states allowed to withhold funding from schools where the participation rate is less than 95%?

Short Answer:

Under ESSA, in section 1111(b)(2)(K) of the new law, states are allowed, if they choose, to allow parents to opt students out of the federally required 17 tests.

In section 1111(c)(4)(E) of the new law, states are required to ensure that 95 percent of all students participate in the federally required 17 tests.

But, in that same section, the federal requirement is that, as part of the state accountability system, states determine how to take into account—or “factor”—the participation rate of students in determining how to judge the schools within the…

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