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Rally held at Manual High School to encourage parents to opt out of CMAS

Manual High School rally for opting out of CMAS
Posted at 5:08 PM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-28 19:20:26-05

DENVER -- It's been a whirlwind of a year for students, parents and teachers, and that frustration was felt at Manual High School during a rally Sunday afternoon in favor of opting out of CMAS testing.

The pandemic has disrupted traditional learning, and some parents feel now is just not the time to test these kids.

"Our daughter is devastated not being with her friends. This is our final year in elementary school, and she's just completely devastated," parent and educational researcher Danielle Walker said.

Her daughter, Janelle, is in the fifth grade. Walker had previously opted her out of CMAS and would have done so this year if she hadn't already.

"From a research standpoint, I was like,'It sounds like the data would just be crap in the first place,'" Walker said.

The Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests show parents, schools and lawmakers how well some students are performing in certain subjects, like English and math. They also show school districts where they need to improve.

But in a year like this, Denver School Board Director Tay Anderson agrees that data won't be helpful.

"Teachers know where their students are at. They went to school to be educators, not test proctors," he said.

He expects well over 50% of the district will not test. He says the goal is to send a message to lawmakers.

"When we're pushing these tests down our children's throats, we're telling them that we do not see them as students. We see them as data points, and they are a bunch more than that," Anderson said.

Colorado lawmakers have proposed a bill that would call on the state's department of education to request a waiver from the federal government to be exempt from statewide standardized testing this year. So far, seven states have already requested a waiver and at least six others are in the process of doing so.