I Support the Opt-Out Movement

New York State United Teachers is formally encouraging parents to “opt out” their children from the state’s standardized tests, and AFT president Randi Weingarten is applauding those efforts.

I agree with them. Why should students have to endure something so pointless and ineffective? But why stop there? Here are 10 more activities that should be subject to student “opt out”:

1) Pop quizzes – Designed purely to demonstrate to individual students how unprepared they are, the pop quiz destroys self-confidence and leaves students constantly on edge, wondering when and if they will be evaluated. Let them opt out and avoid that pain.

2) School assemblies – Interferes with valuable instructional time. Even time spent in silent study would be better than yet another motivational speech by whoever wandered into the district that week.

3) Field trips – No one should have to ride the school bus any longer than absolutely necessary. It subjects smaller, thinner students to bullying and roughhousing.

4) P.E. – Possibility of physical and psychological injury.

5) Recess – Interferes with valuable instructional time and promotes idleness.

6) Math – Nothing more likely to harm your child’s self-esteem.

7) Music – I’ve seen American Idol, and the last thing we need is more teen singers.

8) Homework – Indoctrinates youngsters to the idea that the workday never ends. Interferes with extracurricular activities and a student’s search for his or her own path in life.

9) Lunch – It’s free because no one would pay for it.

10) Attendance – What kind of society forces children as young as six to sit in a room with 30 others while an adult drones on about Derridean thought and semiomimesis?

I’m glad the teachers’ unions are getting on board this whole concept of opting out. I encourage them to embrace it in all aspects of public education.

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