I commend those parents who are opting out. The testing culture has been entirely driven by politics and is harmful to students and harmful to public education.
Arizona's school letter grade system is almost 100% based on AIMS. Take a look at the map for Tucson at http://www10.ade.az.gov/reportcard/ and you can get a quick look at achievement on the exam. In mid-town and South Tucson there are lots of Cs and Ds and a smattering of As. As you escape into Oro Valley, the foothills, and the East Side it's almost entirely As and Bs. Clearly AIMS is doing a better job evaluating family income than educational achievement.
It is not the fault of the district that this is happening. From the district superintendent down to the teachers everyone is doing what is required by law. Many of them dislike it as much as anyone. I cannot ask them to risk their careers by breaking the law.
Speaking to our legislature is exactly what needs to happen. The game is not rigged. Parents and educators need to organize, opt-out, and speak out. We need to write letters, make phone calls, and advocate for ourselves. The government belongs to us and we can bring about change.
One thing anyone can do today is to visit the Network for Public Education at http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org and print and mail their call for Congressional hearings on the misuse of overuse of standardized tests. We are many and together we can make our schools whatever we want them to be.