Opting out: Parents creating contested spaces to challenge standardized tests

We explore how the opt-out movement has responded to the combination of a stringent federal policy with weak and often variable implementation among the states. Gaps between federal expectations and states’ understandings of just how to make NCLB’s demands a reality have created policy ambiguity. Parents who oppose standardized testing have recognized the resulting tensions and oversights in state education systems as a policy vacuum rife with opportunities for resistance. We examine how parents have exploited policy ambiguity through creating contested spaces-places of agency in stringent policy environments in which grassroots can question policy authority and take action. We conclude by considering whether these contested spaces are sustainable and whether the policy outcomes generated in contested spaces are reasonably equitable.



Work Title Opting out: Parents creating contested spaces to challenge standardized tests
Open Access
  1. Dana Mitra
  2. Bryan Mann
  3. Mark Hlavacik
  1. Parent participation
  2. Accountability
  3. State policy
  4. Ambiguity (context)
  5. Policy analysis
  6. Standardized tests
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Education Policy Analysis Archives
Publication Date March 7, 2016
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v24.2142
Deposited March 01, 2024




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added 2016_Mitra__Mann__Hlavacik_final.doc
  • Added Creator Dana Mitra
  • Added Creator Bryan Mann
  • Added Creator Mark Hlavacik
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword Show Changes
    • Parent participation, Accountability, State policy, Ambiguity (context), Policy analysis, Standardized tests
  • Updated

Version 2

  • Created
  • Updated Publisher Identifier (DOI) Show Changes
    Publisher Identifier (DOI)
    • https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v24.2142
    • http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v24.2142
  • Published
  • Updated