NAPLES, Fla.- A fourth grade student at Naples Park Elementary School refused to take the Math FCAT today, part of a growing 'opt-out' movement.
Chase Moore says, "I was just afraid I might not pass or something and I really want to do good in school." At only 10-year-old, the fourth grader is taking a stand. "I didn't want to take the FCAT test because I wanted to show that kids that don't understand the FCAT that well can opt out and they don't have to take this test," he adds.
This comes after the Moore family did some research and realized they didn't like the way the test measured students. His aunt Katie Moore says, "this test is a money making machine. Plus, this test makes winners and losers out of kids. Ya know all the smart kids get to move on where all the kids with difficulty in English or other languages, they fail. The results of this test don't even come back until after the school year is over and the teachers can't even use it as a tool to guide the students to better learning."
Moore says she felt some push back from the school when she told administrators about the straight A student's decision not to take the test. "They also used intimidation stating that he may not be accepted to the gifted program based on this test in spite of the fact his teacher has recommended him to the gifted program."
The Moores are part of the growing 'opt-out' movement, as families across the nation and here in Southwest Florida say no to high stakes testing, and the constant pressure it creates.
Florida law does not allow students to simply opt-out of the test. Schools are required by law to administer it. So when teachers give Chase a make-up test tomorrow, he will break the seal but will not answer any questions or sign the test agreement. There is no state penalty for students who do not take the test.
WINK News reached out to the Collier County School District, which said, "the parent in this instance asked the school to invalidate their child's test. The school district, under Florida law, does not have the authority to invalidate a test at a parent's request." The district says the school principal told the Moores about this requirement.
The district also referenced this Florida law: FS 1008.22(3) addresses the issue of the “Statewide, Standardized Assessment Program.” This provision very clearly states the following: “Participation in the assessment program is mandatory for all school districts and all students attending public schools…” In FS 1008.22(1), the purpose behind the program is clearly articulated including the assessment program’s ability to provide data relative to whether a student is ready to be promoted to the next grade level or graduate from high school. The mandate is also repeated in FS 1008.22(4) in which it is provided that “each public school shall participate in the statewide standardized assessment program..” The district must follow that requirement.
Chase says, "to kids it's like oh you're lucky you get to skip the FCAT but to adults it's a different thing."
His aunt says she's very proud of him, "Chase is doing this to be an example for the kids who don't have a voice for themselves."