1. Florida

Are you opting out of Florida testing?

Published Apr. 22, 2015

Or are you minimally participating?

An interesting transformation is taking place in the Florida opt-out world, where according to law the the powers that be "opting out" does not really exist.

A growing number of parents are using the phrase "minimally participating" to describe what their kids are doing -- entering the testing room, signing in and pushing it away. Florida law requires public school students to participate.

"Participation in the assessment program is mandatory for all school districts and all students attending public schools," according to chapter 1008.

Answering is optional, of course. And so that's minimal participation, as opposed to opting out. What do you think?

Opting out, of course, is still what gains the headlines. It's particularly active in New York, where tens of thousands of students have taken that path.

Testing experts have noted that if enough kids don't sit for the tests, the results could be skewed. In the view of groups like FairTest, that's the point of the protest.

But to folks vested in the tests, like U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, it's not what they want. Duncan told reporters in Chicago this week that he expects school districts to ensure enough students are tested.

"We think most states will do that," Duncan said during a discussion at the Education Writers Association conference. "If states don't do that, then we have an obligation to step in."

That stance has riled up Florida's opt out activists. (Don't forget, United Opt Out held its national conference in Fort Lauderdale this year as the statewide movement grows.)

"I think Arne needs some emails and tweets! ?#‎whyIrefuse" Clare Kirchman posted on one of the Opt Out Facebook pages.

As Florida's testing system lurches forward, opt out -- or minimal participation -- looks to be surging forward with a vengeance. Keep watching.