Darcey Addo practiced with her son, Sammy, after dinner and again before school, coaching him on what to say. She had kept Sammy home during a district reading test earlier this month, and wanted him to be prepared when he was asked to take a make-up exam.
She gave Sammy a letter explaining her decision and coached him to say: “I respectfully refuse.” In the heat of the moment, the seven-year-old said something similar: “My mom doesn’t want me to.”
A grassroots movement to “opt out” of some standardized exams is coming to a head this year as a way to protest so-called high stakes testing. But some say schools are unprepared to handle what could be a widespread act of civil disobedience — and children are being caught in the middle.