Not only that, your child’s schedule at school will be affected during the week of this trial because other children will also be testing this product. Since the technology is limited in your child’s school, your children will be rotated in and out of class so everyone is tested. Your child may miss music, art, PE, or library that week, too.
You, as their parent, won’t be allowed to see the product your child is testing. If you wait and ask in about 6 months, you might be given your child’s score in relation to other children who did this trial, but you’ll probably have to bug your school district for it. Good luck with that. The data is really for the company, and not for the public to know.
Your child will not be compensated a penny for their time spent trying out this product. They will not be compensated for their data that was collected. They will not get any credit on their report card or transcript for being a “guinea pig” for this product.
Did we mention that this product is being paid for with your tax dollars?
Yes, once this product has been fully field tested with all the kinks worked out, the government will pay quite a bit of your tax money for it. In fact, every student in the district will be required to use this product, and every student will be rated and compared to other students with it. (Sorry, parents and teachers, you will still not be allowed to see the final product.)
Is this okay with you, parents???
Well, too bad. This is already happening right now. The entire month of February, children (grades 3-11) in Tennessee are field testing the TCAP writing assessment for Measurement, Inc. And it will happen again this spring when your children are forced to do the the Social Studies field test (Field tests are not to be confused with field trips. Field trips are fun and educational. Field tests are boring and not fun at all.) Testing schedules vary across the state, check your school district’s website to see when these tests are being given in your child’s school.
If you don’t want your child needlessly tested, you have the right to say “No”. Simply send this letter below (or create your own) to your child’s teacher and principal.
Dear (teacher's name and principal's name) ,
As the parent and/or legal guardian of (your child's name) , I refuse to allow my child to participate in the TCAP Writing Assessment, the Social Studies field test, or any other experimental and/or unnecessary standardized test. I am also refusing all district and/or state surveys given to my child.
During these tests, please allow my child to work on an alternate assignment or read a book for pleasure. Sitting and staring during this test with no alternative is not an option. Our child is not to be embarrassed or pressured by staff over our decision.
Please know that we have utmost respect for our child’s teacher and our school. Our decision is what we feel is best for our child. Thank you for respecting our right to parent our children.
- "My child's teacher thanked me and said she wished other parents would do the same. She said that the testing is way out-of-control. They spend so much time administering tests and it takes away from time she is able to teach."
- "Word must have spread at school because a teacher stopped me the other day and whispered that she wished she could opt-out her own stressed child from the testing. She was worried of what her bosses would think if she did, though, and she needed to keep her job, so she couldn't do it."
- Several parents were told that there is no "opt-out" allowed in Tennessee. This is true. Other states do have Opt Out Laws. Tennessee does not currently have a law like that. (We almost did get an Opt Out Law! Long story short... Last year, Rep. Gloria Johnson tried last year to pass a law that would allow opting-out. But the testing company's many lobbyists pressured lawmakers, some underhanded political maneuvers happened to kill the proposed law, and Rep. Johnson was the target of a well-funded hate campaign to unseat her. The bill died with a half-a-billion dollar fiscal note attached to it. Half a billion dollars! That is how much these stupid tests are worth). Anyway, if you're told you cannot opt out, tell them you are not "opting out", you are "REFUSING". It is all about the terminology.
- Some parents were told they need to keep their child at home during testing. Those parents didn't back down. The parents asked for the administrator to "put it in writing" specifically stating that they should keep their healthy child home from school, and that their child would not be marked as absent or given an unexcused absence on their record. The districts quickly changed their tune and allowed their children to read in the library during the test.
- Some parents have been told their child must sit and stare during the test with no alternative assignment or book to read. One parent told her child to write gobbledy-gook answers.
- One parent threatened a lawsuit when they were told their child must sit and stare during testing. The district quickly changed their decision and allowed their child to read in the library during the test.
- Some parents caved in and let their child take the test because they were too afraid to upset their child's teacher and/or principal. At least one child we know of came home from school with a headache last week after taking the frustrating 3 hour writing test on a computer that repeatedly froze up.
- You may be told that these tests are not field tests. This is not true. Here is the law to back you up:
Some people question if this is a violation of child labor laws. After all, it is forcing children to work to directly benefit a company who will profit from their labor. When any ordinary company needs to test their product, they pay researchers and recruit willing participants. Companies generally compensate their participants with money or services, but our children don't receive anything. In fact, our children miss out on valuable instructional time for these tests. Our children have no choice when it comes to testing... unless parents refuse it for them.
If you want to read a fantastic article full of legal stuff to support parents fighting this testing mess, visit Tennessee Education Matters. The writer goes even more in-depth than we do here. There are also some great Facebook groups out there of parents and teachers who have been down this road before you. Seek them out and learn: