Following up on Tuesday's post, PARCC: Opting out vs. Refusal, I've heard from the New Bedford School Department. Jon Carvalho states, correctly, that there is no official state Opt-out form for parents/students to just say no to the PARCC assessments. Imagine if there was such a form, how many parents would be running from this albatross.

While most of us think of the terms "Opt out" and "Refusal" to mean one and the same, not so when it comes to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Here's what we've known. You cannot opt out your child from taking PARCC. There's nothing new in that statement. Parents can have their child(ren) refuse to take the test. The Commissioner of Education mentions students refusing to take the test in one of his releases. Is all of the verbiage, semantics? Yes. That's the game some grown up bureaucrats play with your hard-earned, precious tax dollars. So, I have for your perusal, two forms of Refusal which you may use. Other parents simply "opt" to write a letter informing the teacher/principal/district their child is refusing to take the test. Like a smorgasbord--some many choices.

The first form is a "Refusal Form." Presented in yesterday's post, this form has been used by numerous parents, statewide, dating back to the 2014-2015 school year. This form is not state sanctioned. It does not have to be.

PARCC REFUSAL FORM

The second form is a "Refusal Letter" used by, at least, one parent in New Bedford. You may find the letter interesting because it includes specific notations of court rulings pertaining to parental rights over the educating of their children.

The third form contains a "make you wanna scratch your head" statement about what PARCC is and is not. It comes from the before-mentioned email received from the New Bedford School Department. Frankly, I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to, and believe me, I do not.

I received the quoted text in italics from a member of the New Bedford School Department. It’s regarding PARCC testing. I and others find the statement perplexing and disturbing. My comments/questions follow:

"In addition, while PARCC does not impact individual children’s grades, it does affect the school’s standing (or Level) from the DESE. While the first two years of PARCC are considered ‘held harmless’ meaning the Level will not go down based on participation, schools’ percentile rankings can still fall, meaning that when the ‘held harmless’ provision is lifted, the school could drop one or two Levels. This is based not on scores, but rather on participation rates, of how many students take the assessment."

If the percentile ranking is based on participation rates as opposed to scores, how well students do on these assessments, then why must teachers continue hammering to high stakes tests? If PARCC does not impact the individual child's grade, how is PARCC a better series of tests vs. MCAS? How can PARCC be a better gauge of a child's preparedness for college and careers?

I don't want you to believe me. You do not have to trust me. Read for yourself. Reading is believing. Check for yourself and prove many real education advocates and me wrong. That's all!