Bryce Becker

The Coloniality of Statewide Literacy Testing and #OptOut as a Decolonial Option

In my dissertation, I explore the opt-out movement in statewide testing, a grassroots movement in which parents/guardians choose not to have their children participate in statewide testing. Informed by decolonial theory on language, literacy, and institutionalized knowledge (e.g., Lugones, 2010; Mignolo, 2000; Tlostanova & Mignolo, 2012; Urciuoli, 1995), I conduct a social media ethnography to critically analyze the discourse found in social media posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Focusing on the movement within California, I explore motives for opting out, and how opt-out pushes against the role that standardized testing plays in reinforcing colonial ideologies about language, knowledge, and in turn, being (Tlostanova & Mignolo, 2009). In doing so, I examine whether this resistance movement represents a possibility towards decolonizing literacy from within the U.S. education system.