Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A great opt out / refusal letter

Thank you LG
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{Superintendent, Principal, Teacher(s) };

We can't thank you enough for all that you do for our children. { } years later, we are still delighted with our original decision to send {Thing 1} and {Thing 2} to {School}. The education they have received has been, by and large, thoughtful, intentional, and commensurate with their abilities. Thank you for this!

We are writing on behalf of {the girls} to refuse the state standardized test, any and all field tests, and state-issued teacher evaluation pre-tests. While we have no issue with properly written tests that assess their knowledge, we no longer feel that they should sit exams which are selected outside the classroom or related to their teachers' continuing employment. We believe that such tests create stress levels inappropriate for children of any age.

Regarding the state test, we respectfully direct your attention to the NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual[1], which directs that our children be scored as a "refusal," with a final score of "999" and a standard achieved code of "96," on ELA, Math, and (if appropriate) Science. Please note that a "refusal" is not the same as "absent" as they are defined differently and scored with different standard achieved codes[1]. Also note that "The makeup dates are to be used for administering makeup tests to students who were 'ABSENT' during the designated administration dates."[2] Children scored as "refusal" rather than "absent" should continue their education in the regular classroom environment during the administration of makeup test periods. We are reserving the option of removing our children from school during the test administration session depending on the emotional state of our children on the day of refusal.

Regarding state tests, field tests, and teacher evaluation pre-tests, we would ask that, if possible, the school please provide an alternative activity for our children, as well as others who are refusing the tests, during administrative sessions of testing. We are willing to partner with the school to find appropriate activities that will not exert undue stress on the teacher and/or classroom. We understand that an alternate activity is not required on the part of the school. If you are unable to accommodate an alternate activity for our children we would ask that you please utilize the provision of the Educator Guide which explains "... that student may be permitted to read silently."[3]

Please understand that this refusal is in no way a reflection on the school district, administration, staff, or teachers. Our purpose in sending this letter is to provide a written record of our family’s refusal request, should it be needed. Thank you again for all you do!

Sincerely,

{Dad} {Mom}

[1] NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual, page 63.
[2] 2013 Edition School Administrator's Manual, page 25.
[3] NYS Educator Guide to the 2014 Common Core English Language Arts Test (page 9) (ELA) and Mathematics(page7)