Opt Out FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

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Question:  I have a 3rd grader and my school told me that if my child does not take the AzMerit, then he/she cannot move up to the 4th grade.  Is this true?

Answer:

This information is FALSE!  Under State law, A.R.S. 15 – 701, schools may use a different test to satisfy the Move On When Reading requirement.  Most schools already do this, where they have a reading assessment at the beginning of the year and then one at the end to see growth (such as Dibbles or Galileo).  

The state law also says that IF there is NO data collected on your student’s reading ability (if they do not take the test and if the school has not administered an alternative test) then the school IS REQUIRED to move your child up to the 4th grade and provide remedial service to help them improve their reading skills.

Under the law, your school is NOT allowed to hold your child back –unless they can prove that your child is not reading at a 3rd grade level.  If they have no data, they have no proof.  (See A.R.S. 15 – 701 2(a).)  The burden of proof is on them  –not you as a parent.

The AzMerit also has never been properly validated to determine reading levels.  For these two reasons alone, schools should not use this test as a reliable means of determining reading level and 4th grade readiness.

Tell your school that the State Board of Education has determined in their Jan. 2016 meeting that alternative methods to evaluate 3rd grade students are fine.  If you have any further problems with this, please email Gina@OptOutAZ.org and we will have someone contact your school.

 

Question:  How have schools reacted to parents refusing the test?

Answer: 

Some schools have been very supportive of parents, while a few have not.  Parents have reported that teachers have even quietly thanked parents for refusing to allow their children to take the test.  Many teachers and principals are against high-stakes, standardized testing  –but are afraid to speak out.  Some principals have sent out letters publically telling parents that they cannot opt out, however, privately they have told parents that they support them.

 

Question:  How can I get in contact with other parents in my area that are refusing the test?

Answer:  

We have two wonderful Facebook Group pages filled with supportive parents from all over our state that are building friendships and supporting each other at their respective schools.  Please join:  Opt Out AZ! and Stop Common Core in Arizona.  

Question:  Since the Opt Out bill has not yet passed in the state legislature, do I still have a right to refuse the test?

Answer:  

YOU STILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE!

“The United States Supreme Court has recognized the importance of parental rights and has repeatedly held that parents possess the ‘fundamental right’ to ‘direct the upbringing and education of their children.’ The Court said: ‘The child is not the mere creature of the State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.'”

The Parents’ Bill of Rights states that parents may “opt out of any learning material or activity that the parent finds harmful to the student. This includes material that questions beliefs or practices in sex, morality, or religion.”

 

Question:  What are some of the reasons why parents want to refuse the test?

Here are just a few reasons why parents are REFUSING the test:

The AzMerit…

1. is not valid;
2. is aligned with the unconstitutional federal Common Core standards;
3. violates our 4th amendment rights to privacy;
4. is not allowed to be viewed by parents and teachers;
5. does not provide sufficient feedback in a timely manner;
6. lines the pockets of AIR and SBAC with millions of our tax money and takes that money away from our classrooms;
7. is solely and completely owned by AIR and not our state (including our children’s test answers);
8. is putting us on the track to become like communist China where children are not encouraged to freely think for themselves, be creative, and become future entrepreneurs;
9. is causing teachers to teach to the test, rather than teach what is most important in the classroom;
10. and is causing teachers to leave the teaching field in droves.

Question:  My school sent out a letter saying that parents do not have a right to opt out or refuse the AzMerit test.  Can I still choose to opt out anyway?

Answer:  

YES.  It is your God-given right to refuse anything that goes against your moral beliefs (A.R.S. 15-102) or that you feel is harmful to your child (such as personally identifiable data collection –4th Amendment right).  You have the right to direct the upbringing of your children (14th Amendment right).  Schools are citing a former Attorney General’s opinion to say that parents don’t have these rights.  The U.S Constitution, Arizona State Statues, and God-given rights certainly trump an opinion given by a former Attorney General.

Here are some interesting facts about this former Attorney General:  

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  •  Tom Horne has a conflict of interest since he was also the former Arizona State School Superintendent that originally signed on to the Common Core Standards.  Horne was the one that got us into it and now is telling us that we cannot get out –ridiculous!
  • Tom Horne has a reputation for dishonesty and corruption and is not a reputable source for a parent’s rights.

For more info on parental rights, click here:  marriageAndFamily

Question:  The school has told me that there is no opt-out option at this time in our school policy.  How can I opt out still?

Answer:  

Go to our “Print Opt Out Forms” page and choose an opt out form or refusal letter that best suits your needs.  It may not be in your school or district policy, but you still have that God-given right.  Your child’s school is not obligated to provide your child with an alternate activity, so you may want to keep your child home on testing and make-up days.

 

Question: My school told me that my opt out form is not valid.  Is this true?

Answer:  

Your form is valid.  If it contains your wishes and desires of how you want to direct your child’s upbringing, then it is valid.  You have the final say, not the school.

 

Question:  Will the AzMerit be figured into my child’s grades?

Answer:  

No.  Governor Ducey signed SB1289 on March 26, 2015 to protect students and schools from the ill effects of the AzMerit.  Test scores, or zeros (from opting out) can NOT be figured into your child’s grade in 2015 & 2016.

 

Question:  Will opting out hurt my child’s school?

Answer:

No.  Schools are protected under SB1289 for years 2015 & 2016.

 

Question:  The testing window is over 2 weeks long.  If I keep my child out of school more than 10 consecutive days, he/she will be dropped from his/her classes.  What can I do?

Answer:  

First, talk with your child’s principal.  Have a heart to heart discussion with him/her on the reasons why you feel morally opposed to taking the test and the associated data collection.  Ask your principal to inform you of exact testing days and times so that your child will not have to miss actual learning time in class.

Second, if your principal does not support you, then talk with your child and encourage him/her to not answer any test questions.  You may want to prep your child to tell their teacher that their “mom/dad will not allow them to take the test.”  (This is a very difficult situation for a child to be in.  It is very unfair that our government has put our families in this situation.)  It is good to teach our children to take a stand against things that are wrong in the face of pressure  –even if it is unfair.  Email Gov. Ducey and your legislators.  Tell them how they have put your family in a very difficult and unfair situation.  They need to hear from you.

 

Question:  Can my school drop my student from enrollment if I refuse the test?

Answer: 

No, a child cannot be dropped if they do not take a test.  

 

Question:  My online school is threatening to drop my student if they do not take the AzMerit test.  Can they do this?

Answer:  

That is a great question and we are still trying to find the answer.   Here is what one parent did in response to her online school’s threats:   Online School Opt Out Denial Response Letter

 

Question:  Is opting out or refusing the test worth going through all of this?

Answer:  

Yes.   Your child’s personal information is worth protecting.  Our teachers, principals, and schools are also worth defending from high-stakes testing and conformity.  It is the American Ideals & Values that are at stake.  The American Dream is worth protecting.

American Dream