Sam Gorman, a junior at Burbank High School, started an opt out movement that was joined by 40% of the students in his class. He demonstrates the power of a single individual to make a difference. I happily add him to this blog’s honor roll for his intelligence and leadership.
“Students began taking state standardized exams in Burbank earlier this month, but about 40% of Burbank High’s junior class chose to opt out of the process, according to Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill.
“There were 269 out of 656 juniors at Burbank High who opted out of taking the exam after getting a parent to sign off on the request.
“For Burbank High student Sam Gorman, the choice to opt out signifies his stance against a test that is based on “big data and redundant standards instead of the acquisition of long-lasting knowledge,” he said in an email.
“He learned he could skip the exam last summer in Switzerland, where he attended a student leader summit hosted by Education First, an international company that runs study-abroad programs.
“Working with progressive education experts like Sir Ken Robinson and Nikhil Goyal helped open my eyes to the exciting possibilities of an educational system that treats students more like the individuals they are and less like the raw data they’ve become,” he said.
“The state exam tests students on California State Standards, which until recently were called Common Core standards.
“The computerized exam made its debut in California two years ago. It replaced the STAR exam, which students took by filling in bubbles on paper tests that asked multiple-choice questions.
“The new computerized exam tests students in math and language arts and is used by educators to gauge high school juniors’ preparedness for college. Students in third through eighth grades are also tested to give educators insight into their grasp of state standards.
“Sam wrote about Common Core testing on his website, YoungchangeBestchange.org, and then in mid-March, he tweeted a link that explained how students could opt out.
“Juniors needed to make the request in a letter, provide a parent’s signature and date, and submit it to their school principal.
“It was around mid-March, still a few weeks before testing began on April 7, when junior Daniel Park was asked by a classmate if he would opt out.
“People everywhere were just asking, ‘Are you opting out?'” he recalled by phone this week.
“Daniel is a college-bound student who is enrolled in five AP classes — U.S. history, English, calculous, psychology and physics.”
Daniel opted out, along with 40% of his class.