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PARENTS!! It’s going to be Oh-Kaayyy. Really.

Any parent, who is threatened or intimidated in any way, regarding OPT OUT needs to

1) NOT. FREAK. OUT. It might be challenging if you’ve never stood up to authority before. It helps to take a deep breath.
2) Send an e-mail to the school asking them to –

“Please provide that rule/law (about whatever it is you’re being told will or won’t happen if your child opts out) – IN WRITING WITH SOURCE CITED on district letterhead.” If you’re feeling spunky, say this as sweetly as you can muster.

“I’m happy to wait right here while you get that. Thank you.”
(It might kill you to smile, but smile anyway.)

The bullying usually stops right there. WHEN they can’t provide it in writing, proceed normally with your opt out. (Nothing to see here, move along.) They are *probably* just repeating back to you, what someone has told them, and they have just assumed it is a fact. Many schools are under-informed. Unfortunately, this is a process that many of us will go through as we “introduce opt out” and wake up our happy little schools from their dream.

But folks, here’s the thing. THEY are right. THERE IS NO OPT OUT. There isn’t.

SO. WHAT???

We’re not asking for permission or for the option, or permission to do this. We might INFORM them. As a courtesy. If we wish. Call it civil disobedience if you want. Call it whatever you want. Refusal. Noncompliance. At this point, they’re just words. But basically, you are doing the one thing you have the power to do. Deny the data.

The children PARTICIPATE TO THE EXTENT THE LAW REQUIRES.
They sit down.
They open their paper test or log in to the computer test.
They put their pencils down or log out and submit test without answering any questions.
They have participated.
That is all the law requires, as the state statute does not define “participation.”
The FLDOE does often “adjust” their definition of participation, as it suits them.

“Opt out? Who? Me? I’m not opting out. I have no idea what you mean. I am participating just like everyone else. Thank you for your concern. Have a wonderful day!”

Maybe send a very brief note with your little one on test day, just in case of any confusion:

“I am a minor child. Please call my parents if you have a question about my opting out. And, No, I can’t sign anything either.”

*If you DO receive something on letterhead, there is help available. Reach out to your local Opt Out group here: http://bit.ly/LocalOptOutGroups.

If you receive the obligatory bully letter, don’t be intimidated.
Read this and be informed: http://bit.ly/igotabullyletter

Just remember that in years past, the FDOE reported that 20,709 tests were successfully refused (Orlando Sentinel Oct. 9, 2015). And because of the way they were reported by the FDOE’s Magic Math, we KNOW that there were more.  So maybe there is no “Opt Out, according to Florida’s Commissioner of Education. And yet, TENS OF THOUSANDS of students have opted out every year in Florida since 2013.

We guarantee nothing. Consequences are often threatened, but when parents are informed, they have recourse, options and access to the alternative assessments, which are already in the Florida Statutes. After all, students who transfer from private school, homeschool, or from out of state are regularly and properly placed WITHOUT that FSA score that you are being told your child *must have.*

Helpful resources to keep you informed. Please share widely
* Fully-stocked Opt Out Toolbox: http://bit.ly/OptOutToolbox
* Current Opt Out Guide: http://bit.ly/CompleteOptOutGuide
* Complete Third Grade Opt Out Toolbox: http://bit.ly/Gr3OptOutToolbox
* Navigating the Threat of 3rd Gr Retention: http://bit.ly/Gr3RetentionThreat
* What Does This Bully Letter Really Mean?: http://bit.ly/igotabullyletter
* Special Opt Out group for Third Grade here: http://bit.ly/OOFL3rd
* Find your local Opt Out group: http://bit.ly/LocalOptOutGroups

Thank you for being in this fight with us. We need every one of you here. Spread the word. Your friends will appreciate it.

Every refusal matters. Your refusal matters.
#OptOut

SUGGESTED READING
ARTICLES
Opt Out Orlando tackles testing, pushes for change – West Orange Observer (April 2016) (Excellent factual coverage)
East County parents sign off on Opt Out movement – Your Observer (April 2016) (Detailed information with links to resources)
Here’s How to Opt Your Kid Out of Florida Standardized Testing – Broward Palm Beach New Times (March 2016)
‘Opting out’ a strong backlash to overzealous standardized testing – Bradenton Herald (March 2016)
More FSA tests could not be scored in 2015 compared to FCAT last year – Orlando Sentinel (Oct 2015)
FCAT reading and third grade: Alert parents to portfolio option, lawmakers say – Orlando Sentinel (April 2014)
Opting out of FCAT is doable, but district discourages it – Baker County Press (March 2013) (See?… This proves that parents have been opting out for years now!)

BOOKS
Reign of Error – By Diane Ravitch – Washington Post review

The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing–But You Don’t Have to Be – by Anya Kamenetz – NY Times review

The Schools Our Children Deserve- Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards” – By Alfie Kohn – NY Times review

 

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