Category Archives: Opting Out

Suggested Note to School Administrators: REFUSE TESTING

Below is a suggested note to send to school administrators when REFUSING the state assessments.

Suggestion: Send a copy to all of your school board members, State Representatives and State Senator
NOTE: Read more about how the NAEP is not collecting personal data here: http://edlibertywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Final-Ltr-NAEP-legal-and-privacy-concerns-06272016.pdf

Dear __________________________________
(teacher, principal, admin, or even name of school)
This is to inform you that my child will not be participating in any of the testing I have indicated below. I thank you for respecting my right as apparent and appreciate your support as an employee of our community.

Grades 3-8
_______ My child will not participate in the Smarter Balanced OR PACE English Language Arts Assessment
_______ My child will not participate in the Smarter Balanced or PACE Mathematics Assessment
_______ My child will not participate in any field test assessment provided by the State Education Department

Grade 11
________My child will not participate in the (New Common Core aligned) SAT

_______ My child will not participate in the NAEP Assessment

Name of Student:____________________________________________
Grade:________
Parent/Guardian Signature___________________________________________
Date:________________

IMPORTANT Senate Hearing on Common Core Assessments

URGENT ACTION NEEDED:
Call/Write the Senate Education Committee IMMEDIATELY:
*David Watters — District 4, Dover
david.watters@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-8631
*Kevin Avard — District 12, Nashua
Kevin.Avard@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-4151
*+John Reagan — District 17, Deerfield
john.reagan111@gmail.com
(603)271-4063
*Molly Kelly — District 10, Keene
molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-3207
*Nancy Stiles — District 24, Hampton
nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-3093

TUESDAY, APRIL 19, 2016: SENATE EDUCATION, ROOM 103, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. HB 1229, prohibiting the inclusion of statewide assessment results in a student’s transcript without consent.
position — SUPPORT
information — This is a reasonable privacy protection for students. The statewide assessment is not designed as a measurement for individual performance. It was originally created for school district comparisons as well as school and teacher accountability. This bill prevents assessments from being used for a purpose for which they were not intended.

9:30 a.m. ***HB 1338, relative to student exemption from the statewide assessment.
position
SUPPORT
information — This bill is in response to increasing demand from parents to refuse their child’s participation in mandatory testing, including the statewide assessments that are aligned with College and Career Readiness Standards (aka Common Core). This bill acknowledges parents’ rights to direct their children’s education. If the student does not participate in the assessment, this bill requires schools to provide an alternative educational activity which can be as simple as study hall or free reading time. This bill also protects the schools from any penalty from non-participation. We already have seen scores adjusted for students who did not take the 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment to indicate schools’ scores are not diminished by lower participation. Nothing in this bill changes the requirement for schools to administer the exam and make it available to all students for compliance with federal waiver conditions. The House Education Committee was supplied with examples of rewards and punishments that occurred in NH school districts.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Why Refuse Common Core Tests? Here Are Your Answers, Parents

WHY REFUSE SMARTER BALANCED TESTING?

Parents should be asking “why does the state want the children to take Common Core tests

Many New Hampshire children did not take the Smarter Balanced Math and ELA assessments last year.
Here are reasons why parents said they did not want their children participating:

The tests don’t count towards your child’s grades or promotional status.
The tests don’t count towards receiving or not receiving special services.
The tests are age and developmentally inappropriate.
The tests are too long.
The tests are developed by business men and corporations, not teachers.
The tests are just another form of data mining. Data is the name of the game.

For those who say, “My child does well on the tests”, what are they doing well on? They are doing well on following orders, filling in bubbles, and navigating an absurd myriad of age and content inappropriate test questions that do not measure what they are learning in class and have NO bearing on where they will be placed the following year.

All you see is a number (1-4), specific results are not given to school districts or to parents – so there is no information at all on what they’ve learned, where their strengths are, or where they need improvement. The tests do not have any bearing on whether or not your child will or will not receive additional services either.

Refusing the state tests does not mean your child will never have exposure to taking a test, nor does it mean you are teaching your child he or she doesn’t have to fulfill their academic responsibility. Refusing means you are aware that these tests mean nothing and you refuse to have your child be a guinea pig for the state and the test manufacturers.

School districts must make the tests available to all students, that does not mean they can force or “encourage” all students to take them. You have the option of refusing. Parents, you are the primary educator of your child, and you have first and final say. Parents rights supersede the rights of the school. Remember that. Always.

Your child provides free labor and research for the test manufacturers. Your schools have sold your child into indentured servitude in order to get grant money and the test manufacturers are cashing in.

The New Hampshire Dept. of Ed., school administrators and test manufacturers rely on your obedience to make your child take the tests, and they love to use threats to get you to do so. Don’t believe the threats you hear about losing funding or testing counting against your child’s teacher, these are scare tactics, and they work on people who don’t know the facts.

We are for tests that measure my child’s growth and progress. We are for tests that give teachers and parents a dashboard to look at and pin point what questions they are struggling with or excelling in. We are for tests that are staggered throughout their school years and do not last for days. We are for meaningful testing.

We want our children educated when they go to school. We don’t send our children to test taking school – we send them to school, just school. Please stop the rampant, abusive, useless testing, and lets get back to educating the whole child. That won’t happen unless we all REFUSE THESE TESTS.

This letter was adapted for Stop Common Core in NH from the original posted by:
Deborah Torres Henning
WCSD Parent and
Founder of NY Guardians”

REFUSE to COOPERATE: Where’s the Smarter Balanced Assessment Results?

We URGE you to refuse to cooperate in further testing days or testing time for SBAC tests UNTIL the SBAC sends back useful information to all parents, teachers and schools based on the 2015 assessment.

Then schools, teachers and parents will jointly decide if the information the SBAC sends back on individual students is pedagogically useful.

Bureaucrats at the NH Dept. of Ed said the results would be timely. The SBAC was needed so they could get the results back to schools quickly. They said the results would be released in July, then August and NOW NOVEMBER.

While schools continue more and more testing to prepare for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, this becomes and even bigger debacle by the day.

REFUSE the SAT/ACT/PSAT: Here’s WHY! Oh and the Smarter Balanced too!

Governor Hassan’s Dept. of Ed is proving to be a disaster. Let’s take the Smarter Balanced Assessment debacle as an example. Before the assessment was administered, the NH DoE was looking for an alternative. That’s right, they signed on to a flawed assessment from the beginning and they are now trying to get out of that train wreck.

Last year they tried to force the PACE assessments through the legislature with the help of Rep. Rick Ladd (R). PACE was another unvalidated assessment based on the dumbed down workforce skills called “competencies.” They appeared to be, go from BAD to WORSE. At least with the Smarter Balanced Assessment, parents could refuse to have their children take it. With PACE, that may have been more difficult or even impossible for parents to do.

In the end, HB323 allowed high schools to use the SAT or ACT instead of the Smarter Balanced Assessment for 11th grade. The goal was to get parents to “COMPLY” and have their kids take the standardized assessment. Greedy Superintendents were fearful that funding would be cut off if more students refused to participate. This is a perfect example of funding being more important that your child’s education.

It’s still important to REFUSE to take the new SAT, PSAT or the ACT and here’s why. There are over 800 colleges that take students who have not taken the SAT. STARVE THE BEAST. The College Board is now run by David Coleman, one of the chief architects of Common Core. The SAT will be Common Core aligned in 2016 forcing your kids to submit to another Common Core assessment. The REFUSAL movement seeks to put the College Board out of business. The College Board redesigned the SAT in order to hide the devastating effects of Common Core, however you can already see that by the current SAT.

As of 2016 the new Common Core aligned SAT will make it impossible to determine if Common Core is better or worse.

Now why would that have to do that? Why would they have to hide the truth? Because the truth is not their agenda. If we refuse to support the College Board for just one year they will struggle to stay afloat.

Hiding Common Core’s Damage: New SAT wont allow comparison to prior years’ scores

by DR. SUSAN BERRY7 Sep 2015177
SAT scores this year hit the lowest level in 40 years, even though governments across the U.S. spent hundreds of billions of dollars on education.

However, according to a former Bush administration education advisor, when the new SAT is rolled out next year, the College Board’s changes to the college admissions test will not allow scores from the new version to be compared to those from the past.

This year’s high school students’ SAT scores fell once again, to the lowest level in 40 years. As Breitbart News reported:

A record 1.7 million graduating seniors took the SAT test last year. With a highest possible score this year of 800 on each SAT section, according to the College Board, students scored a worst since 1999 math score of 511, worst since 1972 reading score of 495, and worst writing score since the section was added in 2005.

But Ze’ev Wurman, former senior policy adviser with the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush, tells Breitbart News these disappointing results are still on the old SAT college admissions test.

“Consequently, they represent a trend that does not speak well of the frantic implementation of Common Core that has been taking place around the nation in recent years,” he says.

“Next year the College Board will roll out a major change in the SAT that will make comparisons with past results impossible, and allow Common Core proponents to argue ‘these are different and better tests, so don’t pay attention to past results,’” Wurman states. “We are lucky that this year’s SAT has not changed yet, so the decline is clearly visible and cannot be hidden or denied.”

The College Board president is David Coleman, the so-called “architect” of the Common Core standards.

Wurman reflects on a warning given in 1993 by Zalman Usiskin, one of the founders of reform math:

Let us drop this overstated rhetoric about all the old tests being bad. Those tests were used because they were quite effective in fitting a particular mathematical model of performance – a single number that has some value to predict future performance. Until it can be shown that the alternate assessment techniques do a better job of prediction, let us not knock what is there. The mathematics education community has forgotten that it is poor performance on the old tests that rallied the public behind our desire to change. We cannot pick up the banner but then say the test are no measure of performance. We cannot have it both ways.

“Unfortunately, the first thing reformers do these days is to change the test to obscure the track record,” Wurman asserts.

“Hence the new Common Core tests, hence the ‘re-adjusted’ PSAT and SAT,” he adds. “And more to come, all under the guise of ‘we need to better measure what students know.’ In reality, it is like shooting an arrow and then painting a target around it.”

Wurman has been studying a similar situation regarding the Common Core-aligned statewide tests in California for grades K-12. He and colleague Bill Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a former U.S. assistant secretary of education, wrote in an op-ed last week at The Sacramento Bee that the California Department of Education “has been acting in a way that would have made the Soviet government proud.”

The two former members of the California State Academic Standards Commission continued:

The department has maintained a database of the results on the statewide K-12 standardized tests since their inception in 1998. This database allowed parents and reporters to easily see detailed test results from any school and grade level in the state and compare them with any other school or school district. That helped parents to evaluate the quality of their child’s school, helped set district priorities and helped evaluate trends at schools and districts over time. The easy availability of this data was an important part of public school accountability.

Yet state bureaucrats have a problem. Students across the state took the new Common Core test earlier this year, and insiders are saying that the results are dismal. So first, the bureaucrats delayed the publication of the results from mid-August (as called for in state law) to Sept. 9.

Then until an about-face last week, they blocked the public from being able to compare the last 15 years of test results with the current Common Core results, obscuring the new low level of performance.

Wurman and Evers describe the situation of California students’ test scores in history and science from several years available for comparison on the state’s website, but not so for math or English – the two areas now covered by the Common Core standards.

Fortunately, as the colleagues note, media inquiries about transparency led to the math and English test data being restored to the state’s website.

The California Department of Education’s behavior, they add, “is all too similar to that of authoritarian governments that excel in hiding information from their people.”

PARENTS: Get Those Refusal Letters In To Your School

Get those refusal letters in ASAP

HERE is a LIST of NH Superintendents: http://my.doe.nh.gov/Profiles/PublicReports/PublicReports.aspx?ReportName=SupList with their contact info.

MAKE SURE YOU GET a reply IN WRITING that they have received your directive and that they will honor it. IF you receive ANY resistance from administrators, this prior post will help you push back.

We found last year that when parents pushed back, their directive was accepted. We had a few that had to hire an attorney to draft a letter. We advise parents go to their local school board meeting and during public comments, let the board members know this is unacceptable. Writing a letter to the editor of the local paper is also advisable if you get any kind of resistance.

Additional info:
Some schools may elect to use the SAT which will be COMMON CORE ALIGNED in 2016. You can also REFUSE the SAT for your children. Many schools no longer require the SAT as part of their admissions process.
One In Four School Counselors Say Avoid Redesigned SAT
SAT/ACT No Longer Required For Admission To 800 Colleges and Universities

AND
What Parents Need To Know
Six Reasons To Oppose Common Core Standards For K-3 Grade

Oregon’s Governor Does What Gov. Hassan Refuses To Do: Stand UP For Parental Rights

We told you that California currently has a law on the books that recognizes a parent’s right to opt their children out of the flawed and damaging standardized tests. We also told you that California has lost no federal money in spite of the nauseating threats by Federal and State officials. And lastly we told you that Governor Hassan caved in to the business interests and vetoed HB603 which would recognize parental rights when it comes to excluding your children from the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Good News! Oregon Governor Signs Opt-Out Bill into Law

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/06/23/good-news-oregon-governor-signs-opt-out-bill-into-law/?fb_ref=Default&fb_source=message

Despite pressure from the big spenders at Stand for Children and other titans of corporate reform, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the legislation allowing parents to opt out of state tests.

Federal officials had warned that the bill, which also reduces the consequences for schools where many students skip tests, could lead the federal government to withhold millions in federal education funding.

House Bill 2655, which was strongly backed by the Oregon Education Association, prioritizes the rights of parents to exempt their children from that one aspect of public schooling over the desire of school accountability proponents to get complete reading and math test results for all students each year.

But Brown said she wants Oregon educators to make the case to parents that taking part in state tests is valuable so that they will opt for their children to keep taking the exams.

The new law means that, beginning next spring, schools will have to notify every family at least 30 days before state testing begins about what the tests will cover, how long they will take and when results will be delivered. Those notices will also tell parents they can exempt their child from the tests for any reason.

Friends in Oregon: Forget the governor’s misgivings! Opt out is the best tool you have to protect your children from the current national mania for standardized testing. Opting out will curb the overuse and misuse of standardized testing. Former Texas state commissioner of education Robert Scott memorably said in 2012 that the educational industrial complex was out of control and that testing was “the heart of the vampire”

He also said:

The assessment and accountability regime has become not only a cottage industry but a military-industrial complex. And the reason that you’re seeing this move toward the “common core” is there’s a big business sentiment out there that if you’re going to spend $600-$700 billion a year in public education, why shouldn’t be one big Boeing, or Lockheed-Grumman contract where one company can get it all and provide all these services to schools across the country.

I mean, that’s really what you’re looking at. We’re operating like a business.

When School Administrators Bully Children…

Mom says third-grade daughter banned from school party for Common Core opt-out <—read full story here.

We heard from parents around New Hampshire that their children were being excluded from rewards and parties when they refused to let their children take the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

We would advise doing the following:
1) Document everything. Ask for clarification from the administrators on what they have planned.
2) If they are excluding children, take this information to a public school board meeting and notify your elected board members.
3) Invite the media to attend that school board meeting and have your written testimony available to give to the reporters.
4) Ask the local board members to implement a policy on bullying by school administrators.
a) Ask for a safe area for your children while testing is going on
b) Ask for quality education materials/assignments for children not taking the test
c) Include all children in activities or rewards for testing
5) Follow up with letters to the editor in your local paper on what happened and how the local board handled your request.
6) Above all else, ALL parents need to support a good policy and discourage this type of behavior by school administrators whether they allow their children to take the test or not.

Is the Nashua Superintendent Purposely Misleading Parents?

We’ve posted information on REFUSING the Smarter Balanced Assessment for your children. There’s even a petition to stop the abusive practices by the NH Dept. of Education. Unfortunately we continue to see administrators not providing parents with ALL of the information on their rights to refuse the Smarter Balanced for their children.

This latest letter comes from a parent in Nashua who was upset that the Superintendent didn’t provide all of the information for parents on their right to “Refuse”.

This is why HB603 is needed. HB603 declares that a student exempted from taking the statewide assessment by the student’s parent or legal guardian shall not be penalized. The bill also requires a school district to provide an appropriate alternative educational activity for the time period during which the assessment is administered..

Please call Governor Hassan and ask her to sign HB603 and support parents.

Parents also need to hold their school administrators accountable for the lack of information they are providing to parents. Manchester chose to fully inform parents on their refusal rights. Why are other schools choosing to keep parents in the dark?

It’s time to march into the next school board meeting and let them know this is unacceptable.

May 15, 2015

Dear Parents:

The State of New Hampshire requires an annual statewide assessment for English Language Arts and Math for students in grades 3-8 and 11. RSA 193-C:6 states, “Each year, a statewide assessment shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3-8 and one grade in high school. All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment…”

To meet this requirement in English Language Arts and Math the State has chosen the Smarter Balanced assessment. To meet a similar requirement in science, for many years the State has participated in the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), which is administered to students in grades 4, 8 and 11.

All public school students in the designated grade levels are required to participate in the Smarter Balanced and Science NECAP assessments, with only limited exemptions approved by the NH Department of Education for such circumstances as a serious illness or a death in the family. There is no opt-out provision in state statute based on parental choice. However, based on a recent Board of Education motion, if you keep your child out of school on the day of the assessment, the school will consider this an excused absence.

These assessments provide valuable information about your child’s progress, and the school’s progress, to parents, teachers and students. Should you have any further concerns I would invite you to contact Jennifer Seusing, our Assistant Superintendent for Accountability and Assessment, at 966-1069, or at SeusingJ@nashua.edu. She will be happy to meet with you to discuss your concerns.

Sincerely,

Mark Conrad
Superintendent of Schools

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: What to do when your school administrators mislead you

NH Superintendents Working AGAINST PARENTS In Support Of HB323

New Hampshire Superintendents across New Hampshire are actively working against parents in support of HB323.
HB323 has a number of problems including the implementation of the Competency Based Assessments (PACE assessments) and we encourage parents to read these critiques if they are not familiar with this legislation.

Who supports PACE? The same people who stand behind Common Core and refuse to listen to parents in New Hampshire. People like Bill Duncan, (extreme political activist appointed to the NH Board of Ed recently)Chairman Raffio (actively lobbies against parents in support of Common Core) Rep. Rick Ladd (Chair of the House Education Committee) and Sen. Nancy Stiles. (Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee and vocal supporter of Common Core)

Now we have Superintendents actively lobbying for passage of HB323. Why? Well many of them want to use the SAT as an alternative to the Smarter Balanced Assessment in 11th grade.

Parents might be saying, but that’s not a bad option, and we agree. Why not have options for schools so they can use the best test they feel is right for their students.

However parents need to also ask, what is PREVENTING the schools from offering the SATs now??
The answer: NOTHING.

So why do they need to pass HB323? It’s the $$$$$$$$$$

School districts could offer the SAT to their 11th grade students, they simply have to FUND IT.
The State could fund the SATs in all schools too. There is no need to pass HB323 in order to offer the SATs to high school students.

If you want taxpayer funded SATs then add it to your school’s budget. Do not lobby for the passage of HB323 because then schools are also tied to the PACE assessments.

NO LEGISLATION IS REQUIRED TO DESIGNATE THE SAT’s AS THE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT FOR GRADE 11 STUDENTS. No legislation was ever required to designate NECAPs or Smarter Balanced as the statewide assessments over the last ten years.
No federal or state funding is at risk.

The PACE assessments come with all kinds of problems and it’s wrong to saddle the NH Senators with that baggage.

Governor Hassan got New Hampshire into the Smarter Balanced Assessment MESS and shows a lack of leadership when it comes to offering schools quality standards and testing materials. PACE is NOT an alternative parents are demanding. There is NO provision to OPT your children OUT of the PACE assessments and for that reason alone, the NH Senate should KILL HB323.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 3.31.32 PM

HB323

Previous posts on PACE: http://stopcommoncorenh.org/sccnh/2015/03/19/oh-my-look-at-whos-assisting-the-teachers-in-the-pace-program/

http://stopcommoncorenh.org/sccnh/2015/04/27/nh-moves-closer-to-full-implementation-of-the-failed-outcome-based-ed-model/

http://stopcommoncorenh.org/sccnh/2015/03/26/more-teaching-less-testing-please/

http://stopcommoncorenh.org/sccnh/2015/03/19/common-core-competency-based-ed-results-in-behavior-change-without-protest/