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New Haven creates school policy to provide education opportunities for students who opt out of state tests

Classroom desks
Emory Maiden

New Haven, Connecticut, has put in place a new policy to protect students who have opted out of the state’s standardized testing.

This comes as some parents have already decided to opt their children out of exams next year, including the English Language Proficiency tests in January.

School board member Edward Joyner said these students will no longer be sent home and marked as absent on testing days.

“Every moment that a child spends in school is very important and if parents decide to opt out, their kids are still entitled to whatever education they could get out of that day,” he said.

The new policy will provide in school activities and learning opportunities for testing days.

Tamiko Jackson-McArthur, who is also a board member, said being sent home can make students feel like they are being penalized and excluded.

“Students are told to stay home and they are made to feel different,” she said. “This is what created the interest in making this policy. This policy is simply to support families who have chosen to opt out.”

Last year, much of the state’s mandatory testing was canceled due to COVID-19. The state Department of Education requires that all mandatory testing be conducted for the 2020-2021 school year.

John is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.