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Thousands Boycott Louisiana Common Core Tests

More than 4,000 students in Louisiana have chosen to boycott that state’s new standardized tests aligned with Common Core, according to The Times-Picayune.

However, that figure represents just 1 percent of the 320,000 students taking the exams, less than what would be needed to seriously undermine the new testing regime.

Following repeated failures around the country to fully repeal and replace Common Core standards in math and reading, opponents have shifted to trying to weaken the standards through a campaign to opt out from tests. If too many students sit out of standardized tests, their value as measurement tools diminishes while states risk losing control of millions of dollars in federal funds.

Protest actions against Common Core-aligned tests have been seen in several of the states where they have been rolled out. Two weeks ago, hundreds of New Mexico students walked out of class to hold vocal protests against new tests, while in New Jersey some schools had more than a quarter of their students opt out.  (RELATED: Hundreds Of New Mexico Students Walk Out Of Common Core Tests)

Activists have hoped these early waves would turn into a wider protest action. But at least in Louisiana, it looks like the vast majority of parents, even among those opposed to Common Core, don’t see the matter as warranting civil disobedience.

Even Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, perhaps the most vociferous critic of the standards in the Republican Party, said last week that despite his opposition his three children would take the tests.

“I will be working hard to make sure this is the last year that we, or any other parents in the state, are forced to subject our children to this exam,” the governor said in a written statement at the time.

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White, who has feuded with Jindal over whether to keep Common Core, said the 1 percent opt-out rate showed the test roll-out is working.

“While I understand the desire to focus on the 1 percent, I think it’s important we commend the 99 percent of students who have stepped up,” White told The Times-Picayune.

Opt-outs appear to be heavily concentrated in a few of the state’s districts. For example, in Calcasieu Parish, 12 percent of students are opting out, representing about half of the statewide total. Three other parishes in the state have opt-out rates above 5 percent.

Louisiana has seen perhaps the most grueling Common Core battle of any state in the country. Last summer, after the state legislature failed to repeal the standards or implement new tests, Jindal attempted to do so by executive order, but was defied by his own school board (many of them Jindal appointees) and his handpicked school superintendent, White. Since then, the dispute has escalated into several lawsuits, including one Jindal has filed against the federal government.

Thus far, however, the dispute doesn’t appear to be making a big spill into Louisiana classrooms.

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