While some states have a complex process for opting out of the test or require very precise language, the state of Kentucky has made its position pretty clear. The AP earlier this month quoted the Kentucky Education Commissioner, Terry Holliday:
No student may opt out of the standardized assessments conducted under this system.
A report in the Lexington Herald-Leader makes the Kentucky position even clearer. Laura Arrasmith has been trying to round up some opt-out action in Kentucky-- she doesn't think her kids should have to take the states Big Standardized Test-- but the state has been pretty clear on its position. She had won some accommodations from her local administrators-- but then Holliday issued some pointed communications about testing to all superintendents.
Holliday has told superintendents that students who don't take the test will be counted and they will be given a score of 0. It gets even worse:
Todd Allen, an assistant general counsel for the state education
department, said in a statement that "the student also may be subject to
discipline under school or district policies including the code of
conduct or behavior."
Arrasmith has started a Facebook page for the movement, which sadly has under 300 likes as I'm typing this.
The United Opt Out page for Kentucky is likewise rather bleak. The state allows for a handful of exceptions due to extraordinary circumstances that would allow a child to skip the test. And when I say extraordinary, I mean that the circumstances include if the child has been placed in protective custody and the FBI won't reveal his location, if the child is the only caregiver for a terminally ill parent, or if the child dies during the testing window.
Allen did elaborate that Kentucky parents can opt out-- opt all the way out of public education. But if your child is enrolled in Kentucky public education, the state expects to do everything the state tells him to. It would be interesting to see how this plays out the next time a Kentuckian demands that his child be excused from hearing about evolution in school. In the meantime, Kentucky parents and teachers can definitely use some support from the rest of the country.