According to a survey from Columbia University, only three-quarters of parents who consider themselves to be in the opt-out movement actually opted their child out of standardized testing. More than 90 percent, however, said they would likely opt their child out in the future.
The survey also found that one-fifth of the movement are not parents of school-aged children.
Survey data painted a picture of the average opt-out activist. "The typical opt out activist is a highly educated, white, married, politically liberal parent whose children attend public school and whose household median income is well above the national average," the survey results say.
The "politically liberal" description is somewhat of a surprise, because opt-out activists often get painted as Common Core opponents who trend conservative. According to the survey, almost half of the opt-out movement are Democrats, with only 15 percent Republicans and 33 percent independents. That may be explained by the high portion (37 percent) of the movement that says "judging teacher performance by students' standardized test scores is unfair."
About 45 percent of conservatives surveyed said opposition to the Common Core educational standards was one reason they were in the opt-out movement, while only 16 percent of liberals said the same.
The biggest mobilizer for opt-out isn't school organizations, it's social media. Roughly 40 percent of those in the movement first found out on social media. About 25 percent heard from teachers, while only 13 percent said they heard about it from friends, neighbors or relatives.
The survery recruited respondents online from websites and social media accounts of various opt-out groups, which likely means they didn't have a perfect sample of the movement. More than 1,600 people were surveyed. It was conducted from January 20 to March 31, 2016, a particularly active season for the opt-out movement as schools prepared and administered standardized tests.
Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.