Monday, August 15, 2011

OPT OUT of State Testing (letter courtesy of Ceresta Smith)

Please use this letter..modify as needed!!!
To Whom It May Concern:
Please be advised that our child will not be participating in state standardized testing during the current school year. Furthermore, we ask that no record of this testing be part of our child's permanent file, as we do not wish our child to participate in standardized achievement testing for promotion, graduation, or school/state report cards.

We believe the following of forced, high stakes testing:
•Is not scientifically-based and fails to follow the U.S. Government’s own data on learning
•Fosters test driven education that is not meeting the individual/intellectual needs of students
•Presents a racial and economic bias that is beneficial to white middle/upper class students and detrimental to second language students, impoverished students, and students of color
•Violates the United States Constitution’s ESEA Fiscal Fairness Act
•Supports complicity of corporate interests rather than democracy based on public concerns
•Fosters coercion over cooperation with regards to federal funding for public education
•Promotes a culture of lying, cheating, and exploitation within the school community
•Has used the achievement gap to foster a “de facto” segregation that has resulted in separate and unequal education for minorities

We understand that federal law provides the parent or guardian the right of choice regarding standardized testing when such testing violates spiritual beliefs. In contrast to our spiritual beliefs, which are firmly rooted in a moral code that embraces equity and fairness, we believe such testing is not in the best interests of our child since it fosters competition instead of cooperation, contributes to separate and unequal education for minorities, and belies our child’s intellectual, creative, and problem-solving abilities, while presenting a fictitious picture as to the impact of the pedagogy provided by our child’s individual educators.
Ultimately, our state is required to provide our child with an education in a least restrictive environment that does not force us to go against our spiritual beliefs. My child should proceed to learn and develop at an individual pace following education standards that are imparted under the guidance of education professionals, not market-based reformers, who are able to provide quality pedagogy without fear of reprisal if students - who mature at vastly different levels and come from diverse backgrounds that may or may not be supportive of intellectual pursuit - do not hit the bulls’ eye of a constantly moving achievement target.

Therefore, we request that the school provide appropriate learning activities during the testing window and utilize an alternative assessment portfolio or concordant college testing score to fulfill promotion and or graduation requirements, as our child opts out of standardized testing.

Child’s Name ____________________________________________ ID#_________________________


  1. All should be aware that the US DOE proposed a regulatory change in FERPA that overrides parental consent in the collection and sharing of student data. The U.S. Congress passed the FERPA law and it is undergoing unlegislated modifications. States will not be able to comply with this part of the request unless the public takes action.

  2. Below are references on the proposed regulation change made by the U.S. Department of Education:

    Fordham Law Center wrote a document detailing the security concerns with regard to the longitudinal database.

    FERPA was passed by the U.S. Congress. There are questions as to the Secretary of Education's authority to make this change; however, the U.S. Congress has not challenged the regulation. Notably, the Data Quality Campaign, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education article, "New Rules Would Allow for Broader Sharing of Student Records." See Chronicle links provided above.

    I do not know if the proposed regulations became real regulations. Comments on the proposed regulations ended in May 2011.

  3. Thank you for this info. Sandra!!

  4. I live in Florida. All three of my children are in public school. Grades 9, 4 and 2nd. Does the school have to honor my request or can they turn me down?
    Thank you!

  5. I live in Florida. All three of my children are in public school. Grades 9, 4 and 2nd. Does the school have to honor my request or can they turn me down?
    Thank you!

  6. I would like to know the same as Leah, I have three, 6th, 4th and one who will start K in 2015

  7. I live in Florida also and state statute says testing is mandatory for all students; however, all that means is that a test must be provided to every student sitting in a seat. What that child does after that is up to them. There is no clarification for a student who refuses to actually take the test.

  8. I also live in Fl with a 4th and 10th grader, will they honor the request or will it be denied or cause other consequences such as retention?

  9. I opted out with two of my kids.

  10. They refused my opt out stating that they didn't care about fed law, just state law and their attny said follow state law. Anyone have a link to the fed law that states parents have the right to refuse testing?