The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

Information for Readers Interested in the “Opt-Out” Movement on Testing

on April 2, 2018

A few days ago I received a message from a non-profit organization named “FairTest” which has been working for several years to help public schools give their best teaching to students and true information to parents. Below I will try to explain the important project the organization is working on now. I will respond to their request and I hope many readers will do that too.

Although the Federal government passed a law allowing parents in all states to opt-out their children from the yearly school testing, many parents are not aware of their rights and states do not want them to know. They are afraid that schools with many well-educated parents would opt-out their children if they knew that they had that option. A large number of op-outs from any school would make it impossible for the Federal government to judge the quality of education there.

As a result, many school districts in some states, which have to inform parents of their rights, make that information hard to find or hard to understand, and consequently, there are very few student opt-outs there.

“FairTest”, a non-profit organization devoted to the welfare of all students, works hard to let parents know of their rights, but it is difficult for it to obtain the information it needs For that reason it has reached out to knowledgeable people in various states, asking them about the formal policies and hidden practices for opting-out students in their state. I will respond with what I know about Oregon’s information to parents, and I hope that readers in other states will do the same.

To give you an idea of what many states are now doing, I will repeat the information provided by the state of California below, which is similar to that of other states.

California has a school-distributed letter with one sentence on the right to opt-out           buried deep in the text of a memorandum to parents about testing. We do not know what is on the state website or if opt-out forms are readily available. There is no link to an Opt-out form on the school’s letter.

FairTest is assembling material from all states with opt out laws. I hope that many readers will send them whatever information they have, including links. Their Email address is:



2 responses to “Information for Readers Interested in the “Opt-Out” Movement on Testing

  1. Don Bellairs says:

    We disagree here, Professor, as we have in the past, but we have learned to do it respectfully–something I value dearly in these tumultuous time.

    Your labeling of opt-out testing opportunities as “parents’ rights” is a little like the labeling of gun control advocates as “gun grabbers” and of abortion-banning advocates as “pro-lifers,” huh? The terms are laden with bias.

    When American citizens pay for schools that desperately need but fiercely resist serious, thorough reform, those citizens are being heated. I think we had different experiences in America’s public schools, and I believe yours was more sheltered. I learned how much of the public was left out of public schooling in Oregon and you did not. You are a good-hearted, scholarly human, but there is another side to this standardized testing issue (AKA “high stakes,” huh?) that I wish you would address. Then it will be easier to understand your current position on the matter, as you are lending your powerful voice to the advocacy of only one side. I’m sure your students were taught to understand the significance of proleptic approaches to their persuasive essays and speeches.


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