Dear Editor:

Please be advised that our children, Kaydance and Isabella Self, will not be participating in any state or federal standardized testing for the remainder of their enrollment in the Madison County School System. This request must include all tests not expressly written by and/or graded by our children’s teachers. These tests include, but are not limited to, CRCT, ITBS, EOCT, GHSGT, PSAT, SAT, ACT and MAP testing. Furthermore, we ask that no record of these testings become a part of their permanent files, as we do not wish them to participate in standardized achievement testing for promotion, school ratings or teacher KEYS scores. We also do not wish for our children to be a part of any recordings on any SLDS database.

We believe the following of forced, high-stakes testing:

It is not scientifically based and fails to follow the U.S. government’s own data on learning. It fosters test-driven education that does not meet the individual needs of the student. It fosters a culture of stress and fear in both students, teachers and is damaging to students with special needs or who simply are not great test takers. It is in opposition to the corrective action in GAPs and with the opportunity and resources sanctioned by the Fiscal Fairness Act. It supports complicity of corporate interests rather than the democracy-based public concerns. It also fosters coercion over cooperation with regard to federal funding for public education. It promotes a culture of lying, cheating and exploitation within our school systems.

We also do not believe in making adult issues, children’s issues and the funding and accountability of this school or any other is not an issue that is to be placed on the shoulder of our children or any other child. We are also of the belief that standardized testing is not in the best interest of our children as it fosters competition instead of cooperation, contributes to separate and unequal education for all students, and does not properly demonstrate a child’s intellectual, creative and problem-solving abilities, while presenting a fictitious picture as to the impact of the education that is being provided by our child’s teachers. We also believe that these types of testings hinder our great teachers and protect those who are of poor quality. We believe it is detrimental to their health and well-being. Ultimately the state is required to provide our children with a free, appropriate public education in a least restrictive environment that includes methods that are best for both Isabella and Kaydance.

Our girls should continue their education and develop at their own pace and following the educational standards that are designed by educational professionals, not by the market based reformers, who are able to provide a quality teachings without fear of reprisal if students – who mature at vastly different levels and come from diverse backgrounds that may or may not be supportive of intellectual pursuit – do not hit the mark of a constantly moving achievement targets.

We also understand that the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld our rights as parents and that we possess “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” The court declared that “the child is not a mere creature of the State: those who nurture and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35) The Supreme Court criticized any state legislature that tries to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402)

My husband and I request that the school provides the appropriate learning activities during the testing windows/times and if needed teachers to collect an appropriate assessment portfolio to fulfill any promotion requirements, as our children opt out of all standardized testing.

My husband and I have decided that we will not be keeping Kaydance and Isabella out of school during these testing days/times as we believe in doing so will deprive them of valuable instruction time. Also, it is against the 14th Amendment and the EEOA to deny our children of this time. It is the school’s responsibility to have alternative instruction for them during CRCT testing time. We would be happy to make some recommendations.

If, while in school during testing times, either Kaydance or Isabella are asked to participate in any of theses tests, then you will be violating our parental rights, their rights, our protection under 14th Amendment and the EEOA, as well as going against the opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court and we will then be forced to take legal action. Our children have been taught to do as they are told to do by adults in authority and to respect that authority. We already know that they will not refuse if they are told to take any of these ridiculous tests. Do not administer, give, put in front of them, encourage them, bribe or threaten them to take any tests that we have already discussed as it is detrimental to their health, well-being and our beliefs. They are also not to be questioned as to why we are in opposition of these testing practices. Again, these are adult issues that are not to be made theirs. They are not to be in the same testing room as their fellow students who are being subjected to these cruel and outdated practices.

We are not asking for them to agree with us, just to respect our decision. We are not alone. There is Opt Out Georgia, United Opt Out and FairTest.org. Parents across the nation are trying to take our schools back.

Sincerely,

John and Alyson Self

Hull

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