Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Opt Out/Refusal Letter for 2013-2014

Sam - who has never taken a standardized test

Dear ---,

My name is Peggy Robertson and my son, Sam, will be attending --- High School tomorrow as a freshman. He is beyond excited! We are equally as thrilled to have Sam become a part of the --- HS family. I was so impressed at orientation with the focus on community as well as academics. I feel very lucky to have Sam at a school which allows him to express himself in so many ways. He will be in the orchestra and is gearing up for his first cross country meeting tomorrow.

I wanted to let you know that I am one of the founders of United Opt Out National, the movement to end corporate education reform. We focus intensely on supporting parents in opting out/refusing any high stakes and low stakes tests that are used to privatize public education. Sam will not be participating in any of these tests. I know that --- has the TCAP this year as well as MAP. I wasn't sure if there were any other tests being used, any test prep, and/or any surveys. I also wasn't sure if --- HS has a program similar to Reading Counts, which Sam opted out of at --- last year and completed book reports for his teacher instead. Sam will have a copy of this letter in his backpack to share with teachers if needed. Are there any other tests that Sam and I need to be aware of?

I refuse to allow Sam to participate in these tests for many reasons. Foremost, I refuse because they are using these tests to fail children, teachers, schools and communities all over the country, and ultimately, they are being used to dismantle the public school system. I also refuse these tests because I believe Sam's teachers are professionals who are able to determine Sam's strengths, attempts and next steps. These tests are unnecessary.  I trust --- High School teachers and know that they will be able to support Sam every step of the way. I do ask that Sam be allowed to read or engage in other learning activities during testing times.

I am also a public school teacher and I have a deep appreciation for all that you do for --- High School students. Have a wonderful school year.

Peggy Robertson