Three Steps to Protect Your Children from
                        Standardized Testing

STEP 1: Learn as much as you can.
* Join a Facebook group like Refuse of Cuyahoga County

*Governor Kasich signed HB 7 into law which will give students "safe harbor" from the 2014-15 PARCC test scores.

* Try your luck at the high stakes testing, and take a sample PARCC assessment. Imagine yourself taking it at your child’s age!

* From the Ohio Department of Education, “There is no law that allows a parent or student to opt out.” This is misleading.           There is also is no law that allows a person to breathe air. Luckily there are no laws that prohibit either of these behaviors!

* Third Grade Reading Guarantee
If your third grade child took the OAA in the Fall of 2014 and received a score of 394 or higher, they earned the right to progress to fourth grade and the Spring OAA is not necessary for progression. The district would prefer that the students take the Spring OAA but it is not mandatory.

* Safe Harbor (HB 487) Synopsis
Affects 2014-15 state report card. May affect teacher evaluation on a district-by-district basis. Contact the president of your school district’s teachers union to find out what agreement the union has with the school board, if you are interested.

* Current Freshmen and 2018 Graduation Requirements
Students entering 9th grade this school year have three graduation options.

Freshmen Option 1 is to earn 18 or more points from the scores on the seven PARCC/AIR End of Year Exams. Minimum requirements are 4 points from the two math tests, 4 points from the two English tests, and 6 points from the 3 science/social studies tests. The end-of-course exams will be scored on five levels of achievement with each level earning points of 1-5 rather than a pass/fail score.

Freshmen Option 2 is to earn a remediation-free score on a college entrance exam such as the ACT/SAT. the remediation-free scores are on the English language arts and mathematics sub-tests. Those scores are set by the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, (higher education institutions). The details on this option will be determined by spring 2016.

Freshmen Option 3 is a work/skills assessment and an industry credential. ODE continues to add to the approved credentials list.

*The Big Business of Education: Breaking Down the Dollars Behind Common Core and PARCC
What exactly is behind all of this new testing?


* Watch educators from Northeast Ohio speak out about testing at the Lorain County Education Forum (Youtube):
Roger Knight speaks on an administrators perspective on standardized testing.
Stacie Starr, mother, 9th grade intervention specialist, and Top Teacher Award Recipient (Live with Kelly and Michael),
          speaks about PARCC testing as it relates to special education students.
Jackie Conrad speaks about Third Grade Reading Guarantee and high-stakes standardized testing.
Dawn Neely Randall speaks about PARCC testing.
Melissa Marini Svigelj Smith speaks about excessive standardized testing and parents right to refuse.
Janet Garrett speaks about Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) and standardized testing.
Matt Jablonski speaks about standardized testing.

* School leaders across Ohio are speaking out against testing:

Bob Hill, Superintendent, Firelands Local Schools
"The disruptive force of change known as “high-stakes testing” continues to unnerve and bewilder even the best educators across the state of Ohio.
The growing tide must serve as a call to action from our community and a wake-up call to our policy makers. I ask you, “When is enough, enough?” The time to stand up for our students is now and I urge our community to take action. Please join with me and provide a voice for our children that cannot be ignored."

John Marschhausen, Superintendent, Hilliard Schools
“We’re losing too much time for instruction. We’re creating an atmosphere that is built on testing and not teaching and growing young people.”

Tom Henderson, Superintendent, Centerville City Schools
"While we understand the need to be accountable, we may be at the “tipping point” of reason with the number of testing hours vs. loss of instructional time.
While I cannot promise what the future will hold… I can tell you that we are working hard to engage those who can affect change."

Ben Gibson, School Board Vice President, Fireland Local Schools in an open letter to Gov. Kasich
The state needs to take a hard look at the amount of testing and particularly the PARCC assessment. I am confident that you would see major improvements and support by eliminating the PARCC assessment. While I appreciate a single test that measures both student growth and teacher accountability, the PARCC test is full of poor content and developmentally misaligned material. Give us a test that is fair to our children and teachers and I guarantee we can sell it locally.

STEP 2: REFUSE standardized tests.

There is no law that says you can’t refuse standardized tests.
Click here for more information on the Supreme Court’s Parental Rights Doctrine.

Here are some suggestions:

~ Write a letter announcing your decision.
   You may use this standardized testing refusal form, a sample letter or create one of your own.
   If creating a letter of your own, please make sure to use the word REFUSE, rather than OPT-OUT.
   You will most likely have to complete one form or letter per child.

~Follow up with an email of your letter to your superintendent, assistant superintendent/director of educational services/curriculum director, and building principal(s). Carbon copy all board members.

~Also carbon copy your letter to each of your child's teachers so that everyone is aware of your decision. You may also choose to notify them in advance and explain that the decision is not a reflection on them.

~Also you can REFUSE any practice testing or test preparation exercises and request an alternate assignment for your child if you would prefer that they not participate in those activities.

~Ignore empty threats and misinformation after you refuse. Letters acknowledging the receipt of parental refusal (opt-out) information vary by district, but sometimes they are intentionally vague, deceptive, threatening, and in some cases, misinformed.

Find printable flyer with steps to write letter here.

STEP 3: Contact lawmakers and board members and voice your concerns.

Possible topics include:

* Sending your refusal letter to government officials
* The over-testing of students
* Common Core State Standards (Ohio’s New Learning Standards)
* PARCC, AIR, and other state-mandated tests
* District-selected, non-graded tests
* Corporate educational “reform”
* Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES)
* 5 of 8 Rule (potential loss of art, music, and physical education
  teachers, library/media specialists, nurses, social workers, etc.)
* Loss of instructional time, recess and short lunches for testing and
  test prep
* Short lunches, loss of recess due to testing

                           Due to recent parent concerns, the Senate President
                           has created the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing.
                           This committee will review the new PARCC and AIR tests
                           and also study the quantity of testing in Ohio.
                           Please click here to send your comments on testing
                           directly to the committee.


Government Contact Information
Contact as many of these as you can! More lists to come!

Ohio Senate Education Committee Members

Ohio House Education Committee Members

Your area's Ohio House Representative (search by zip code)

Your area's Ohio Senator (search by zip code)

Ohio Board of Education Members

Dr. Richard Ross- Ohio’s Super Superintendent of Public Instruction

Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117
(614) 466-3555
Twitter: @JohnKasich