State test ‘opt out’ bill headed to lawmakers

A bill that formalizes the right of parents to opt their children out of state testing will soon come before Colorado state legislators. The bill would also bar the state from penalizing school districts that fail to get 95 percent of all students participating on tests.

Right now, districts face a one-step drop in their accreditation rating if they don’t meet that threshold on two tests. Colorado law requires all students take state standardized tests. But if a parent wants to "opt" their child out of testing, it’s generally treated as an excused absence.

Colorado’s main teachers union issued a statement saying the bipartisan bill fixes a law that wrongly penalizes districts and teachers when parents exercise their rights. Test supporters, meantime, say low participation rates threaten parents’ ability to know how their children, schools, and districts are doing.