An Alabama eighth grader has claimed she was suspended from school after declining to take standardized tests associated with the controversial Common Core curriculum.
Alyssa McKinney, 14, told WAAY-TV that she didn’t believe in the educational requirements, which aim to set a national standard in K-12 education for math and English, and thus refused to take the tests on three separate occasions. While her first two acts of resistance were reportedly met with in-school suspensions, the third time landed her an out-of-school suspension.
Although Whitesburg Middle School didn’t talk to the press, the Alabama Department of Education wrote on its Facebook wall that “parents can choose to have their child be absent (and follow all local absentee policies) or have their child work in a supervised area of the school. They should put their refusal in writing and give to their school.” It was unclear whether McKinney’s mother gave her daughter the required opt-out note.
The Common Core exists in 44 states and the District of Columbia and has proven highly controversial. Proponents of the educational standards, which were introduced by the National Governors Association in 2009, include President Barack Obama, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But there is strong resistance against the curriculum as well, emanating from conservatives who believe “Obamacore” represents federal overreach and an intrusion into states rights, but also encompassing left-leaning critics like comedian Louis C.K. who has said it destroyed his child’s love of math. Common Core also underwent scrutiny in April when New York parents and educators were surprised to see brand names including Barbie, iPod, and Mug Root Beer in more than 1 million tests.
McKinney isn’t the only student to get in trouble for refusing to take the standardized tests. Seirra Olivero, a 13-year-old in upstate New York, claimed to have been suspended for insubordination last month after encouraging classmates to opt out of the Common Core English test. Other students have allegedly been denied ice cream by school administrators for opting out.