- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An eighth-grade student at an Alabama school was suspended after refusing to take what she claimed were standardized Common Core tests.

Alyssa McKinney of Whitesburg Middle School in Huntsville told WAAY-TV that she didn’t agree with the tests, and that when she refused to take them, school officials gave her two in-school suspensions. She refused again, on day three, and was then given an out-of-school suspension, Fox News reported.

But administrators said the tests were actually local assessments, unrelated to the state program.

“The test the student refused was a locally chosen formative assessment, not a state standardized test,” Melissa Valdes-Hubert, public information manager for the Alabama Department of Education, said in an email. “Local assessments have been given for many years and are part of the instructional program. Attempts to connect these assessments to something else, like Common Core, is a misrepresentation.”

The state Department of Education policy is that parents might opt out their students from the testing, but they have to do it in writing. Fox News said it wasn’t clear what role Alyssa’s parents played in her opt-out decision.

Several students around the nation have faced school punishment for deciding not to take Common Core tests.

A 13-year-old student at Orange-Ulster BOCES in New York was suspended for what the school called “insubordination” last month when she advised classmates that law allowed them to opt out of the Common Core English exam, Fox News reported.

And in Arkport, N.Y., school administrators heard an earful from parents after they provided ice cream to third- through sixth-graders who took Common Core tests — but nothing for those who opted out of the exams.

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