Some parents want children to opt out of FSA testing

- The debate over student testing is back in the spotlight.  

Florida students are taking standardized tests this week.  

Many parents who believe the tests are not fair are keeping their kids home or telling them not to take them.

This week, Orange County students in fourth through 10th grades are taking the Florida Standards Assessments or FSA writing tests.  

Still, some parents are sending their kids to school with a note saying they will not take the exam.  

Cindy Hamilton is with the Opt Out Florida Network. She says lawmakers and state education leaders need to listen.

She says, "They need to start listening to the professionals in the classroom, the teachers, when they say there is something wrong with having all of these high stakes attached to our tests."

Opt Out supporters claim the FSA test puts too much pressure on children and has a high failure rate built into the exam.  

Hamilton gave an update on the group's efforts today.

She says, "We had hundreds of successful opt outs here in Orange County. We had great responses across the state."

Orange County school officials say they had no big problems administering the first day of testing Tuesday.

School Board Member Joie Cadle says measuring student success is part of life.

Cadle says, "As a parent you want to know your child is learning while they are in school."

Cadle says Florida law does not allow students to opt out.  

"The law says you have to participate," she said. "If you are a student in a public school in Florida, you do need to participate in these assessments."

Hamilton says when students take part in test preps all year and sit down and open the FSA test, they are complying with the law even if they do not answer the questions. There is no law that says answering questions is mandated."

Cadle tells Fox 35 it will be late May before the district knows how many students actually opted out of this year's test.  

Third-graders will take the FSA reading test after spring break.

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