People who love the Common Core just got support from an unexpected place

NAACP President and Chief Executive Officer Kweisi Mfume stands after speaking to the news media during a protest June 4, 2004 outside Catholic University in Washington, DC. Mfume and other supporters of the civil rights group protested the university's decision to block the formation of a chapter of the NAACP at Catholic University.Getty / Brendan SmialowskiThe NAACP is among 12 civil rights groups urging parents not to opt-their kids out of Common Core tests.

Common Core testing opposition reached a fever pitch this spring with reports of parents around the US opting out their kids from testing.

The controversial standardised tests irk many parents who claim they contain puzzling questions and that preparation takes up too much of their children’s valuable time in the classroom.

But proponents of the tests just got support in an unanticipated place: civil rights groups.

Twelve civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the Disability Rights Education and Defence Fund, issued a statement on Tuesday decrying the opt-out movement.

The statement argues that opting out students undermines the intent of the assessments — to ensure that all students are provided with fair and equal education.

“When parents ‘opt out’ of tests … they’re not only making a choice for their own child, they’re inadvertently making a choice to undermine efforts to improve schools for every child,” the statement says.

So far, there has been a trend that predominantly wealthy school districts have had higher numbers of opt-outs. It would seem that civil rights groups are pleading with parents in wealthier districts to think about the ramifications for students of colour, low-income students, and those with disabilities.

Parents who opt-out their kids often cite the decision as an act of civil disobedience. And the NAACP and other civil rights groups have a long history of standing behind a cause and using their power to boycott unfair or immoral actions. But in this case, civil rights organisations cannot remain silent on the issue, as they say opting out disproportionately hurts the very people they aim to protect.

The following groups signed the statement:

  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • The American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • Association of University Centres on Disabilities (AUCD)
  • Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA)
  • Disability Rights Education and Defence Fund (DREDF)
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
  • National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
  • National Urban League (NUL)
  • Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
  • TASH

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