Council Members Back Testing “Revolt”

Philly students increasingly opting out of standardized tests.

There’s a “revolt” against standardized testing under way in Philly, and some members of the City Council are backing it.

Seventeen percent of students at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences have opted out of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and other standardized tests, City Paper reports. Council members María Quiñones-Sánchez, Mark Squilla and Jannie Blackwell have now backed those efforts.

“Until we put some limits on this obsession with testing students, we will see protests like that at Feltonville,” Quiñones-Sánchez said in a statement backing the protests. “We stand with families who are making the choice they believe is best for their children.”

Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the School District of Philadelphia, said there’s concern that only special ed and English as a Second Language students are being targeted by the opt-out activists. “If we have an activist teacher in the school trying to get parents to sign this, that’s very troublesome,” Gallard told City Paper. “On the face of it, it would just be highly unusual and, I would say, inappropriate.”

But Feltonville isn’t isolated.  Newsworks said in November that the “opt-out movement” is growing in Philly. City Council held hearings on the issue last fall.

Alison McDowell, a parent who has helped lead the movement, said at the time: “Standardized tests negatively impact students living in poverty, English language learners, and children with special needs, of which Philadelphia has many.”