Archive for the ‘opt-out letter’ Tag

Yes, You Can Opt Out of Common Core Tests   41 comments

Good news: after sending an opt out letter (seen below) I received three letters back, from my high school student’s principal, math teacher and English teacher.

Each letter said that my child may take a paper-and-pencil alternative to the Common Core tests without any academic penalty. The school is apparently not enforcing the absurd current state law which states that schools must punish the student who opts out with a non-proficient score. Hooray!

I’m sharing this, so that anyone may create or adapt this letter for their use, if they like.

————————————————————————————————————————————

Dear Principal and Teachers,

Thank you for all you do for our kids. I sincerely appreciate your hard work, dedication and caring.

I am writing to let you know that ___________ my 11th grade child, will not be participating in the state’s new AIR/SAGE tests this year or next year. These are the Common Core aligned tests that feed into the federally funded State Longitudinal Database System and measure not only math and English, but also nonacademic, personal information including behavioral indicators (according to recent state law) and are to be used in grading schools.

I would like my child to have a pencil and paper alternative that is to be used ONLY at the school level, and not sent to the district or state levels.

I believe that this choice may be hurting this high school’s “school grade” so I apologize. It is not my wish to harm this excellent school in any way. I am also aware that it may hurt my child’s academic grade. Rather than getting an opt-out score, a non-test taker may get a non-proficient score. This is a tragedy for students and schools.

Our state leaders have created this situation that punishes schools and students when parents opt out of the tests.

(–You can quit reading here. But if you are interested in why I am writing this letter to opt my child out of the tests, please read on.)

Attached are PDF copies of the original bill SB175 and the amended bill put forth by the USOE at the Aug 2. meeting. On line 164 of the amended bill is what the USOE added. This is the part of the bill I find morally wrong.

164 (2) the parent makes a written request consistent with 165 LEA administrative timelines and procedures that the parent’s
166 student not be tested. Students not tested due to parent 167 request shall receive a non-proficient score which shall be
168 used in school accountability calculations.

A parent should be able to opt their child out of the invasive computer adaptive testing without the child receiving a non-proficient score, after that child has spent an entire year in school and has received grades for the work that could easily determine proficiency.

A single test should not determine the success of a child’s school year in one swoop, any more than it should determine the grade for that school for the year. There are too many variables to consider yet testing is the only criteria by which a school (or student?) will be seriously graded. I realize there are other minor components that will factor into the grading of a school, but the main emphasis will be on the test scores.

There are many things wrong in education not the least of which are laws that tighten control over our children while telling parents what’s good for them. I should not have to pull my children out of school in order to protect them from invasive and experimental testing.

Signed…

—————————————————————————————————————

WHY DO PARENTS WANT TO OPT OUT OF COMMON CORE TESTING?

1. The AIR/SAGE/Utah Common Core tests, which test math and English, are nontransparent and secretive.

2. I don’t believe in the Common Core standards upon which these tests are based. They are experimental. They snub classic literature. They dilute classical math. They were developed and copyrighted by two D.C. private clubs who have no accountability to me as a teacher or as a voter– (the NGA and CCSSO). They give power to a centralized system that is contrary to the constitutional concept of separating powers and empowering local control.

3. The tests feed the national data collection beast via the 50 nationally interoperable State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS), feed the P-20 child tracking/surveillance program, and will gather nonacademic, private information on students, including “behavioral indicators” according to Utah state law HB5.

4. It’s nobody’s business, even in Utah, how my individual child does in math and English –except the teacher’s business, and mine. My child’s not to be counted as the government’s “human capital” and the government’s not an invited “stakeholder” in my child’s education, career, or life. Too bad for Governor Herbert’s darling, Prosperity 2020! Remember this: business leaders, governments and legislatures don’t have authority to use tests and data collection to snoop on any child (or adult) for “collective economic prosperity” or for any other reason.

5. Overemphasis on high-stakes testing hurts kids and wastes instructional time.

6. Overemphasis on high-stakes testing hurts teachers. They will be controlled by how students do on the tests; this limits teachers’ autonomy in the classroom and is an insult to teachers’ professional judgment.

2012 FTC Alert: To Prevent Child Identity Theft at School   2 comments

FTC Consumer Alert:Protect Your Child’s Personal Information at School

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt056.shtm

First, here are a few bullet points for readers in a hurry:

  • children whose identities have been stolen usually don’t find out until they are adults.
  • parents have the right to opt out of allowing schools to share child data with third parties.
  • if you don’t put your opt-out request in writing at your school, the general public may have access to your child’s private information
  • parents have the right to see surveys and instructional materials before they are handed out to students
  • you have the right to ask to see your child’s records and to correct errors in them.

The following FTC Consumer Alert from August 2012 is reposted in full below.

FTC Consumer Alert

Protecting Your Child’s Personal Information at School

Back to school — an annual ritual that includes buying new notebooks, packing lunches, coordinating transportation, and filling out forms: registration forms, health forms, permission slips, and emergency contact forms, to name a few. Many school forms require personal and, sometimes, sensitive information. In the wrong hands, this information can be used to commit fraud in your child’s name. For example, a child’s Social Security number can be used by identity thieves and other criminals to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, cautions that when children are victims of identity theft, the crime may go undetected for years — or at least until they apply for a job, a student loan or a car loan, or want to rent an apartment.

Limiting the Risks of Identity Theft

There are laws that help safeguard your child’s and your family’s personal information. For example, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, protects the privacy of student education records. It also gives parents of school-age kids the right to opt-out of sharing contact or other directory information with third parties, including other families.

If you’re a parent with a child who’s enrolled in school, the FTC suggests that you:

  • find out who has access to your child’s personal information,and verify that the records are kept in a secure location.
  • pay attention to materials sent home with your child, through the mail or by email, that ask for personal information. Look for terms like “personally identifiable information,” “directory information,” and “opt-out.” Before you reveal any personal information about your child, find out how it will be used, whether it will be shared, and with whom.
  • read the annual notice schools must distribute that explains your rights under FERPA. This federal law protects the privacy of student education records, and gives you the right to:
    • inspect and review your child’s education records;
    • consent to the disclosure of personal information in the records; and
    • ask to correct errors in the records.
  • ask your child’s school about its directory information policy. Student directory information can include your child’s name, address, date of birth, telephone number, email address, and photo. FERPA requires schools to notify parents and guardians about their school directory policy, and give you the right to opt-out of the release of directory information to third parties. It’s best to put your request in writing and keep a copy for your files. If you don’t opt-out, directory information may be available not only to the people in your child’s class and school, but also to the general public.
  • ask for a copy of your school’s policy on surveys. The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) gives you the right to see surveys and instructional materials before they are distributed to students.
  • consider programs that take place at the school but aren’t sponsored by the school. Your child may participate in programs, like sports and music activities, that aren’t formally sponsored by the school. These programs may have web sites where children are named and pictured. Read the privacy policies of these organizations, and make sure you understand how your child’s information will be used and shared.
  • take action if your child’s school experiences a data breach. Contact the school to learn more. Talk with teachers, staff, or administrators about the incident and their practices. Keep a written record of your conversations. Write a letter to the appropriate administrator, and to the school board, if necessary.

File a complaint

You may file a written complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920, and keep a copy for your records.

For More Information

To learn more about child identity theft and how to deal with its consequences, read Safeguarding Your Child’s Future or visit ftc.gov/idtheft.

You may have additional rights under state law: contact your local consumer protection agency or your state attorney general for details.

About the FTC

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a <a href=”https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/&#8221; data-mce-href=”https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/”>complaint</a&gt; or get <a href=”/bcp/consumer.shtm” data-mce-href=”/bcp/consumer.shtm”>free information on consumer issues</a>, visit <a href=”http://ftc.gov/&#8221; data-mce-href=”http://ftc.gov/”>ftc.gov</a&gt; or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a video, <span style=”text-decoration: underline;” data-mce-style=”text-decoration: underline;”><a href=”/multimedia/video/scam-watch/file-a-complaint.shtm” data-mce-href=”/multimedia/video/scam-watch/file-a-complaint.shtm”>How to File a Complaint</a></span>, at <a href=”/video” data-mce-href=”/video”>ftc.gov/video</a> to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the <a href=”/sentinel/” data-mce-href=”/sentinel/”>Consumer Sentinel Network</a>, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

%d bloggers like this: