What to do when your school administrators mislead you

Many parents in New Hampshire and in other states are trying to opt their children out of the annual standardized assessments. In New Hampshire schools began testing students with the Smarter Balanced Assessment this month. Parents across the state have done their homework and many are now refusing to let their children take it.

Parents can visit a prior post that gives them information on why they should refuse the Smarter Balanced Assessment for their children.

It’s important to look at the flaws with this assessment and why others are recommending that children not take it.

We’d also recommend watching this video of Jane Robbins who explains the data collection that will take place when your children take the Smarter Balanced Assessment

Now that parents have the information they need to make the decision to refuse, it’s important to notify the school.

We recommend sending a notice to the school administrators in writing. You will also want to make sure that if your child does not participate, the school will not hold it against them.

The Technical Advisory issued by the NH Dept. of Ed found at our prior post clearly says there are no laws against a parent refusing to let their child take the standardized assessment.

If a school administrator tells you that you have no choice, then there may be a need to inform them of your rights to refuse.

Some parents have found that some of our school administrators are telling them they have no right to opt out. The proper term to use is “refusal”. It is true that there is a law that states the district has to administer the assessment to all students and that there are some exemptions. It’s important to realize that this law applies to the school and not to parents. This law is in place so school administrators do not arbitrarily exempt students from this assessment.

If an administrator gives you misleading or false information on refusals, you may need to inform them on refusals.

1) Make sure you use the term “refusal” and do not ask for an “opt out”. Parents are not asking permission, they are directing the school that they are refusing.
2) Send the notification to the teacher, Principal, Superintendent and all of your local school board members.
3) Ask for a reply indicating they are in receipt of your refusal letter.
4) Ask the administrator what the plan is for the kids who will not be taking the assessment.

If the refusal is acknowledged and there is a satisfactory plan for your child then you have the information in writing that they are going to recognize and honor your directive.

If you are told that you have no right to opt-out, then you may need to take a different approach.

Are you willing to contact members of the media who would be willing to report on this denial?
Are you willing to contact an attorney in order to help you through this process? If so, these attorneys have been briefed on the current law and will help parents exercise their parental rights on refusals.

Most parents are finding that when they inform administrators on their parental rights, they are finally acknowledging that students do not have to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. A handful of parents have had to reach out for legal assistance but if that happens, the best thing to do is go directly to your local school board and local media and let them know that no parent should have to spend money on an attorney to exercise their parental rights.