LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The 'opt out' movement is gaining momentum and making its way to Southwest Florida, as parents choose to have their kids not take the FCAT test.
Lori Fayhee is one of a handful of parents taking a stand against the testing in Lee County. She says her son is staying home from school this week and not taking the FCAT. She says it doesn't help him learn and she doesn't want him defined by a test.
She runs a facebook page called Teaching not Testing, or TNT. She wants school board members to find other alernatives for students who choose not to take the test.
Florida does not allow students to simply opt-out of the test, so her son is staying home, or he would have to sit silently and refuse the test.
Kathleen Jasper is also part of the movement. She left her job as assistant principal at Estero High School in February to take a stand against the testing.
She says, "it's all become just about testing and these processes that are really detrimental to students and when I wanted to change that, I was basically told to do your job, and stop worry about these things and it's just a reality. I watched students get funneled into auditoriums for days while other students tested over and over and over again, the amount of time wasted on testing was mind boggling, the amount of instruction wasted was disappointing and when we tried to formulate a plan for how we can test and teach it just doesn't work."
She started a blog called ConversationED to help teach other parents they have choices and rights when it comes to their child's education.
"Parents have rights and they're not going to allow districts and states and the federal government to hold their kids hostage hours on end. You have to really exercise your rights otherwise your children will just be swept up in this machine and they will continue to be tested over and over and over again."
The state says the tests are mandatory but there are no state-imposed consequences if you do not take it. If you are in 3rd or 10th grade and don't take it, you have to demonstrate proficiency on another test.