Can They Do That?

Only if you and We the People let them!

“I gave my school district the Opt-Out form you have attached in one of your previous posts. He basically said they wouldn’t honor it. Can they do that? PLEASE advise. Thank you!”

Over the last couple of years I have heard from many parents across the country wanting to know if and how they can opt out of state assessments, especially those administered online and the assessments that are being piloted by SBAC and PARCC. For about year now I have heard from a number of parents, like the parent who left the above comment, who have requested to opt their child out of state and pilot assessments.

Teachers, principals, schools, school districts, and states are under a tremendous amount file000978694068of pressure to produce results on assessment tests. Schools get branded and punished if deemed a failing school even though the system is pretty much set up to start schools on a downward spiral from which it is extremely difficult to recover. This pressure may result in parents being told they can’t opt out of testing and having the parents’ requests disregarded. Parents may be told the tests are required and there is no opt out provision. Threats may be made that the parents will be reported to the child protective service agency. In many states, including Washington, the state may mandate the administration of assessments but that does not mandate each student participate in the administration (consider the semantics that may come into play).

Across the country there is a large and growing resistance to assessments. There are opt out websites that may provide a lot of information and advice. If interested, I suggest you search online. Here I will try to present information and suggestions for those seeking to opt out of assessments.

There are a number of opt out forms available online. Completing one and submitting it to the school is not a guarantee the parent’s request will be honored. I see these forms as requests and parents should take responsibility and follow up if they do not want their child to take a state assessment. Here are a few suggested actions for parents to consider:

-if your request as a parent is denied, ask to be shown the statute in state law requiring your child be assessed against your wishes. Better yet, do your homework with regard to state laws prior to making your request. Consider seeking legal counsel.

-keep your child home during the testing period, understand the school may try to administer a make up assessment upon your child’s return

-have your child sit for the assessment but not complete it

-withdraw your child from school during the testing window—have a justifiable reasons for withdrawing—homeschooling, family trip, etc.

Prior to making a request, consider asking school officials to show you the information that your child will be asked to provide as well as the assessment questions and tasks. It is likely they will not allow you to see the material, but in the event they do, it may help you make your decision as to what to do. If you are comfortable with what you see you may no longer object. If you aren’t comfortable with what you see, it may give you more solid ground on which to base your request. And if they won’t allow you to see the material, I would question why not—and become suspicious they are hiding something from me.

file0001110781475The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and PARCC conduct pilots of the assessments they are developing. I would recommend parents not allow their child to participate in these pilot tests. I know some school districts in Washington had some of their schools participate in a pilot with SBAC last year. This raises a number of questions. Is there a statute in state law or school district policy that requires parents to actively or passively consent to their child’s unpaid participation in product development? Are these pilot assessments a measure of student learning or are they a step in the process of product development? Shouldn’t school officials be required to show parents their legal authority for using valuable instructional time to provide what some may see as free child labor for product development?

I am of the belief that parents are responsible for their child’s education and should not be treated like their kids belong to the school or the state.

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9 Responses to Can They Do That?

  1. Breann says:

    I asked some questions of OSPI about the SBAC and opting out last spring. Here is the reply. I’ll follow up on question 1.

    From: “Kristen Jaudon”
    Sent: Monday, May 6, 2013 9:39:31 AM
    Subject: RE: SBAC in Washington state

    Hi Breann,
    Thank you for your interest in Smarter Balanced. You asked some great questions and I hope I am able to provide you some helpful information (below). Here is a link on our website for even more:

    Q:Currently, parents are able to view their child’s MSP exam. Will this option still be available with the SBAC assessment?

    A:We don’t have a definite answer to this one yet, but we believe there will be some way to view your child’s assessment.

    Q: Will parents and students have the option to refuse the tests as they do with the MSP?

    A: A parent may refuse to have his/her child take state tests. However, it is not recommended. A student in grades 3-8 who doesn’t take a state test may miss out on having learning issues identified sooner rather than later. High school students who do not pass state assessments or their approved alternatives, will not graduate.

    Q: Will the current CAA alternative options to the HSPE remain in place for the SBAC?

    A: As of today, there has been no legislation to change the graduation exams. This might change in the future. Currently, students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 must pass the HSPE in Reading and Writing, and an EOC in Algebra. Students in the class of 2015 and beyond must add to that list an EOC in Geometry and an EOC in Biology. If the graduation assessment requirements change we will make the necessary adjustments for CAA Options.


    Kristen Jaudon
    Communications Specialist
    Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
    360.725.6032 (o) | 360.481.9099 (c)

  2. Breann says:

    If you’re being told you can’t refuse the test, please let us know. Join our group on facebook.

  3. Go after the school board, they are elected art they? If you can put them in office you can take them out! They represent you in this fight. So tell them to start fighting for us or get the hell off the school board so we can elect someone who will.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you so much for your response to my question about the Opt-Out form. I will take into consideration a few of the suggestions.

      This is what the school board sent me to my latest email:
      “Thank you for your email, which all board members received. I am glad you had an opportunity to speak with Mr. G. Additionally, in an upcoming issue of our publication ‘L***** Schools’, we will be sharing some information about how our district is approaching the move to the Common Core State Standards.”

      I know for a fact that my district started teaching Common Core before it was fully implemented this year. In my opinion, they know what they are doing.

      I had sent them this You Tube Video link of Bonnie Fisher’s statement before Indiana State Legislators:

      Partial Statement:

      Full Statement (with interaction):

  4. Wow this is bigger than big! The giant has been awakened. This guy points out that Data collection is being done on our kids in schools for Corporate America to a National Data Base. Money to be made all at the expense of our kids data.

  5. Cathy says:

    My son said without passing this weeks HSPE one cannot graduate. This is also on top of the “involuntary volunteering” hours (30 hrs I believe) they are forced to acquire in order to graduate.

    Today’s Seattle Times article, front page:
    Local students putting big new Common Core exam to the test

  6. Cathy says:

    What gets me is how this program came in through the back door. The Dir of Circ told me that they started implementing Common Core some years ago. They are all in on it and did it without respect to the vote and will of the People. Always a sign of wrong doing.

  7. Pingback: CURE Washington » Blog Archive

  8. Pingback: CURE Washington » Blog Archive » Opt-Out Form

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