I will readily admit that pretty much all of the text used herein was written by the fine people at NYSAPE and OptThemOut.com. This is our third year in refusing the tests, and I decided to include the text in the “we will opt in when…” graphic I’ve seen going around. Feel free to use (and personalize) this letter for your own child(ren).
Dear Principal PRINCIPAL NAME HERE,
Thank you for all that you do for our school.
I am writing to respectfully inform you that my child, CHILD’S NAME (Grade X), under my guardianship and advice, will refuse to take the following NYS exams:
In addition, they will not participate in any stand-alone field tests, or any test used for state and local Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) used for teacher evaluation.
Our refusal should in no way reflect on the teachers, administration, or school board. This was not an easy decision for us, but we feel that we have no other choice. We simply see these tests as harmful, expensive, and a waste of time and valuable resources.
We refuse to allow any data to be used for purposes other than the individual teacher’s own formative or cumulative assessment. We are opposed to assessments whose data is used to determine school ranking, teacher effectiveness, or any other purpose other than for the individual classroom teacher’s own use to improve his or her instruction.
We are aware that NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will direct you to talk us out of this decision in an effort to push forward the corporate takeover of public education. We decline any such meeting or phone call. Do not contact us for that reason. To protect yourself, keep this letter as proof to Commissioner Elia that we have declined.
We will opt in when state education officials reduce the length and time spent on state tests to appropriate levels; allow special education students access to ALL of their testing accommodations; ensure that tests are diagnostic, with results provided to parents and teachers in a timely manner; return to NYS educator-created state assessments; commission an independent task force including parents, educators, and stakeholders to study the Common Core Learning Standards and make recommendations to adjust and adopt NYS standards; create an independent review of the NYS “career and college ready” benchmarks to ensure that these benchmarks are research-based and appropriate; and halt immediately the misuse of assessment data, as test results are not to be used to evaluate teachers or punish schools. Instead, this information must be used to help provide the needed supports to ensure that every child receives a well-rounded, high quality public education with access to a curriculum rich in the arts, music, and sciences.
Thank you very much.