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Standardized test opponents reach agreement with school

A Georgia couple, whose fight to spare their children from the undue stress of state-mandated standardized tests got ugly earlier this month, has reached a deal with the school district.

Tracy and Mary Finney, who say the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) provide an incomplete view of students’ abilities and cause undue stress, sought to keep their fifth-grade daughter and third-grade son out of the week-long tests, which Georgia has been administering since 2002.

“The emphasis is placed upon if [children] don’t pass this test, they don’t get to go to the next grade, regardless of how they’ve done in the past year,” said Mary Finney.

“From February to about April, the actual education of our children basically stops,” Tracy Finney said. “Now it is: teach to the test rather than teach to the child.”

When the Finneys refused to allow West Side Elementary to administer the CRCT to their daughter and son, they say a police officer politely and professionally told them their family could not remain on campus while testing was in progress.

“He said that, ‘You and your children are trespassing on school property if they’re not taking the test,’” Tracy Finney recalled.

Georgia uses the CRCT to evaluate the academic achievement of students in first grade through eighth grade. Although Georgia law has no provision for children to opt-out of the test, state education officials say they give local districts leeway in evaluating whether a student can be promoted to the next grade without passing the CRCT.

Several days into the week-long test period, West Side Elementary welcomed the Finneys’ children back to school and agreed to evaluate their performance without the CRCT.

“The situation has been resolved," Randy Weiner, the board chairman of Marietta City Schools, said in an email to Fox News. “The situation has been resolved. I have no further comment.”

The Finneys say they love their children’s school and are happy their conflict has been resolved. However, they say they want to support parents facing similar battles over standardized testing in other parts of the country.

“When the school kicks them down, we want to pick them up and say, ‘No! You do have a right. This is your right, because these are your children,’” Tracy Finney said. “These are not the state’s children.”

Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.

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