"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Can You Find the Statute Mandating Student Compliance?

A parent in the Cape Girardeau School District asked if she could opt her child out of MAP testing. According to DESE, the answer was students may not be excused from the collective testing. Here is the story from KFVS:

According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the test is a must.

"Based on No Child Left Behind, opting out of the MAP test is not an option," said Pat Fanger, assistant superintendent for Cape Girardeau Public Schools.

Accessing the DESE website under "MAP Test Information for Parents", here is the only information I could find about the testing mandates:

What is the Outstanding Schools Act?

The MAP assessments are required under Senate Bill 380, often referred to as the "Outstanding Schools Act," the state school-reform law enacted in legislature in 1993. This bill required the State Board of Education to adopt no more than 75 academic performance standards, which established the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for students to "successfully advance through the public elementary and secondary education system of this state; lead to or qualify a student for high school graduation; and prepare students for postsecondary education or the workplace or both." These "Show-Me Standards" are guides to what students should be able to know and to do. There are 40 knowledge standards and 33 performance standards.

Linking onto the "Outstanding Schools Act", I can't find any language mandating Missouri students to take the MAP test. The legislation directs DESE in ITS legal requirements but I can't find legislation directing parents to make their child accountable to the school for this test.

Check out the No Child Left Behind website also listed on the DESE site and try to find the language which mandates students take the MAP test. I can't find that mandate or legislation in there either.

Do you think Debbie Jaco of Cape Girardeau will be put in jail if her daughter is not available for the MAP testing? Can DESE produce the specific legislation that states a taxpayer is legally mandated as a public school parent to force his/her child to take a test that doesn't determine whether he/she passes or fails a subject or a school year?

If you have the specific legislation either from the state or federal government with this mandate as it relates to individual students, please let us know. Reread this sentence again:

"Based on No Child Left Behind, opting out of the MAP test is not an option," said Pat Fanger, assistant superintendent for Cape Girardeau Public Schools.

Opting out of the MAP test may not be an option for schools, but as of now, I cannot find language which is directed to individual students.


  1. Make up the rules as you go along! Ya!, that's the ticket! Make everybody believe there's a mandate and you don't have to pass legislation. Rule by circumvent!
    Education is not the answer; indoctrination IS! Be a good little do bee or you FLUNK!

  2. I have fought this, and won:
    It is also not mandatory for kindergartners to go full days....My daughter could have gone home every day, right after lunch.
    But, after the battle, she decided she wanted to go full time.
    The principle loved that one.
    Anyway, I was told it was basicly a tax issue for funds.
    Well, yes! I pay taxes!
    It's a good thing for them, I have a child that goes to school there, otherwise I'd be tempted to fight paying the taxes that go to the public schools.
    I mean, the public good included me, doesn't it?


  3. I am following where parents are asking about opting-out. Are parents in Missouri asking to opt out?

    Here in Florida, there are consequences for not taking the test. The student does not go to the next grade level or is given an plan as if a disabled student. Keep a child home because of the testing is an unexcused absence, which also has consequences. In Texas, parents report that unexcused absences come with a court date for contributing to the truancy of a minor, $500 a day penalty, and a truant officer.

  4. HC, How did you win on opting out of testing?

    This is what I found on Missouri's Revised Statutes:
    4. The testing program of each local school district shall include, but shall not be limited to, criterion-referenced tests approved by the department of elementary and secondary education. This testing program shall test all students at periodic grade levels.


    FYI - Norm-Referenced vs. Criterion-Referenced Tests

  5. Concerned:
    Thanks for that finding. Here is a listing of assessments by states I found today:


    Then here is a link describing what criterion and augmented norm referenced mean:


    In your opinion, then, based on the statute you found, would parents be breaking the law if they did not allow their children to take the MAP test? What do you think?

  6. Stlgretchen:
    When I read "This testing program shall test all students at periodic grade levels" it reads like a directive to districts to have the program set-up. I can't find a law requiring that every individual student take one or more of these tests.

  7. our district administration simply told me that we would be accountable to the district's local laws for un-excused absences/truancy and it would be unfortunate if the district had to take action against me.

  8. I plan on telling my kids to fail these tests on purpose. Maybe they can't opt out but they can't be forced to "perform."


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