Opt Out Letter 2014-15

With the start of a new academic year, it’s important to consider your options when it comes to opting out of excessive testing for your children. You can read more about the nuances of local assessments and opting out here.

Once you’ve made the decision to opt out, you will need to inform your district and communicate with them to know when the testing dates are and to make sure your decision is being respected.

Here is a letter you can use or customize to opt your child out of various state and local assessments:

Dear Board of Education, Superintendent, Principals, and Teachers of ________________ School District,

We are writing today to formally inform the ___________________ School District of our decision to refuse to allow our child ____________________ to participate in any local assessments tied to APPR for the 2014-2015 school year. My child will be scored as a “refusal,” with a final score of “999” and a standard achieved code of 96, on all State testing including ELA, Math and Science as described in the NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual on page 63.

Our refusal should in no way reflect on the teachers, administration, or school board. This was not an easy decision for us, but we feel that we have no other choice. We simply see these tests as harmful, expensive, unfair, and a waste of time and valuable resources.

This year we will show effort to eliminate unnecessary and harmful assessments in our public schools. Our child will not participate in any assessments other than those solely for the use of the individual classroom teacher.

We refuse to allow any data to be used for purposes other than the individual teacher’s own formative or cumulative assessment. Any assessment whose data is used to determine school ranking, teacher effectiveness, state or federal longitudinal studies or any other purpose other than for the individual classroom teacher’s own use to improve his or her instruction will not be presented to our child.

To be clear, our children will not participate in the following:
 Any so-called “benchmark” exams whether they are teacher-designed or not, since these exams are imposed by entities other than the individual teacher.
 Pre–assessments connected to “Student Learning Objectives.”
 Any progress-monitoring or RTI assessments such as AIMSweb, MAP, or STAR.
 Any exam used to formulate an evaluation or score for our children’s teachers or their school.

We believe in and trust our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and administrators. We believe in the high quality of teaching and learning that occurs at ___________________ School. We hope our efforts will be understood in the context in which they are intended: to support the quality of instruction promoted by the school, and to advocate for what is best for all children. Our school will not suffer when these tests are finally gone. They will flourish as they have in the years previous.
___________________ School should have a unified policy in place to address children who are refusing these assessments.

We do apologize in advance for the inconvenience this decision may cause the administration, the school, and staff.


Links to this letter and other resources you can download can be found here.

Join the conversation on Facebook, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need guidance of any kind.

About Betsy Bloom

Betsy is an Associate Professor of Education at Hartwick College in Oneonta NY. She is also a parent of two, a nine year veteran middle school social studies teacher and the current president of the NYS Foundations of Education Association, an organization dedicated to achieving social justice through public education.
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