Colorado bows to federal pressure, will penalize schools for testing opt-out

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 10:55:02 PM. State Board of Education will create two lists to monitor school testing opt-out rates to meet federal standards.

In an effort to keep federal dollars flowing to Colorado classrooms, the State Board of Education voted Wednesday to create two quality systems for the state’s schools — the existing one designed in 2009 by state lawmakers, and a new one that meets federal requirements.

The unusual arrangement amounts to a compromise between the state education department and the U.S. Department of Education.

After Colorado became a national epicenter for the opt-out movement in 2015, the State Board of Education adopted a policy that did not count students who opted out of the tests in the school’s average test score. Students who missed the test and were not excused by parents still counted against a school’s score.

That proved to be a sticking point when state officials submitted Colorado’s plan for complying with the nation’s new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act. Federal officials sent the plan back, saying the opt-out provision didn’t comply with the new law.

In the compromise, the state will continue to issue state school quality ratings that don’t penalize schools for high opt-out rates. But the state also will create a separate list of schools based on the federal requirement that students who opt out are counted as not proficient.

Read the full story at Chalkbeat Colorado.

Chalkbeat Colorado is a nonprofit news organization covering education issues. For more, visit

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