Opting Out: Is it worth the hassle?

Two years ago I (nervously) posted about the concept of opting out of standardized testing, and I can't tell you how many conversations that has sparked, that usually go something like this:

Parent: I really hate those tests, and they stress my kid OUT. I've read all the articles that say all the testing is so bad for kids. Wouldn't it be so much better if the teachers could, like, TEACH during that month and not have to do so many tests? 

Me: Yes, yes it would be SO MUCH BETTER. Teachers think it would be better, kids think it would be better, administrators think it would be better (only they have to be super quiet about that), the research has proven that the over-testing concept is fruitless and downright damaging o kids...pretty much everybody is in agreement that it would be So. Much. Better. to not have all the tests. 

Parent: I just don't know what to do about it. Seems like a big hassle and I don't want anybody getting mad and taking it out on my child. 

opting out

Me: There are ways you can legally opt out. If you think opting out is best in your child's situation, I would recommend contacting your district or the state department of education in the state where you live and see what those steps are. Sometimes it is as simple as writing a letter or making an appointment with a leader in your school or district. Just keep in mind that ultimately, you're the parent and you can control/influence what your child is subjected to during school hours. Every single teacher in the world hates these tests, man, but we literally cannot lead the charge on reforming the role of assessments in schools. It has to be parents. 

Parent: Okay, say my letter is approved or whatever. What will my kid do while everybody else is testing?

Me: Testing windows are literally the most hated time of year. Oh, I guarantee you...there will be plenty of teachers FIGHTING for the opportunity to actually teach your child during all those hours instead of being stuck in a room where all they can do is walk in circles and count the cinder blocks or ceiling tiles. It could totally be the new "Teacher of the Year" perk.

Personally, if it was up to me we would take our kids to Disney World during testing. That would be heads and tails over a richer learning experience than their being trapped in classrooms or computer labs like experimental rats in a maze.

It would also be waaaay cheaper than what it costs to purchase, administer, score, and print reports for all those assessments. 

But since an annual spring trip to Disney for a family of 5 isn't exactly feasible, I'd personally settle for homeschooling for a few weeks...

There's a new assessment being administered to the kids in my state (well, newish; this is the second year but the first year is typically for baseline data), and my district will be conducting them all through the computerized version of the test. I have heard some hopeful things about this method, namely that the test sessions aren't as arduous (for example, maybe now the testing sessions will only be about 30 minutes per test instead of an hour and a half per test). I have also read that there could be some meaningful parent reports provided as feedback from the new test...and hey, if that test can tell me something about my child that her teacher can't tell me from being in the classroom with her for 150 days (by the time testing season starts), I am open to that!