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

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

1) NOT. FREAK. OUT. It might be hard sometimes. It helps to take a deep breath.
2) Ask the school to –

“Please provide that rule/law IN WRITING WITH SOURCE CITED on district letterhead.”If you’re feeling spunky, say this as syrupy as you can muster.

“I’ll just wait right here while you get that. Thank you.”
(Remember to smile sweetly, even if it kills you.)

That usually stops them right there. If they can’t provide it in writing, Proceed normally. Nothing to see here, move along. They are *probably* just saying 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.

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

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

Just remember that last year, 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 our dear Empress of Intimidation.”

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. It is our right. Our children’s right. Call it civil disobedience if you want. Call it whatever you want. Refusal. Noncompliance. Minimal participation. 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.”

“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.”

Helpful resources to keep you informed. Please share widely
* Fully-stocked Opt Out Toolbox: http://bit.ly/OptOutToolbox
* Pocket Opt Out Guide 2015-2016: http://bit.ly/PocketOOGuide15-16
* Navigating the Threat of 3rd Gr Retention: http://bit.ly/Gr3RetentionThreat
* What Does This Bully Letter Really Mean?: http://bit.ly/igotabullyletter
* Comprehensive 2015-2016 Opt Out Guide: http://bit.ly/OOGuide1516
* Special Opt Out group for Third Grade here: http://bit.ly/OOFL3rd
* Find your local Opt Out group: http://bit.ly/LocalOptOutGroups

From all of us at The Opt Out Florida Network to you:
Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright

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.
#OptOut2016

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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