Delaware will have a parent opt-out bill IF Governor Jack Markell. Our House and Senate passed it last week. Our legislative session ends Tuesday at midnight. We need the Governor to sign this bill! Retweet, post on Facebook everywhere, tell your friends, tell your enemies, scream it from the rooftops “SIGN HB 50 NOW Governor Markell!” His Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/GovernorMarkell?fref=ts and I would post this on any education article you see on there. Message him. Email him. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him why you want this bill signed. This isn’t just for Delaware. This is for ALL of America. It’s no secret Markell has his eye on a bigger prize than Delaware. Trust me when I say we don’t want another Arne Duncan!
Oregon’s Governor signed legislation very similar to this the other day. Let’s make it a two-peat America!
Oregon’s House Bill 2655, which allows a parent to opt their child out of standardized assessments, was signed into law today by Democrat Governor Kate Brown. This bill mandates schools notify parents of their rights to opt-out, provides instructional time for students not taking the test, and provides two school rating systems: those with the opt-out numbers factoring in and ones without.
Today, the Delaware House of Representatives will meet after they get out of caucus, and their own opt-out bill is 3rd on the agenda for today. Governor Jack Markell has given a ho-hum “I don’t like this bill” and may veto it. It is not necessarily true, as reported by the News Journal, if the legislators could override the bill. Timing would be crucial as their legislative sessions ends on June 30th until mid-January of 2016. Unless they meet again after the session ends to cover an override, which I don’t see happening, the veto could stick.
I’ve heard differing answers to this, so I figured I would check for myself. Two states have very clear and distinct laws which allow parent opt-out of standardized testing, and those are California and Utah (Utah code Ann. Paragraph 53A-15-1403 (9)). However, many other states have enough weight in their laws which can easily allow for opt-out.
In Pennsylvania, a student can be opted out of the standardized assessments for either religious or moral reasons. But the parent has to review the assessment and make a decision. A child can only graduate if they either do a project-based assessment due to being opted out or if the superintendent gives a waiver. What is very interesting about Pennsylvania though is the 95% Federal requirement. This does not apply to Pennsylvania since they filed for a No Child Left Behind waiver on this provision and it was granted to them.
In Tennessee, a child can be opted out by a parent if they are required to take a “survey, analysis or evaluation” (Tenn. Code Ann. §49-2-211) but it isn’t clear if this applies to the state assessment.
Wisconsin has a rather odd law (Wis. Stat. § 118.30(2)(b)3) that stipulates any student in 4th and 8th-11th grades can be opted out if a parent wants that, but for standardized test purposes, 3rd and 5th-7th must test.
Oregon (OAR 581-022-1910) allows opt-out for disability or religious reasons and it does not affect a student’s graduation requirements as long as they can show proficiency in understanding the state Essential Skills in reading, writing and math. Schools are held to the federal benchmark of 94.5% instead of the usual 95% for participation rates.
These are the key “opt-out” states, however many states currently have legislation like Delaware’s House Bill 50. In New Jersey, their bill cleared their House unanimously and it is waiting for a Senate vote. I will be updating those states this evening. All of these would be contingent on a Governor signing the laws, and some states it is very doubtful a Governor would, but you never know. If Delaware passes it, I am very curious how Jack Markell would handle that…