"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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Friday, May 24, 2013

Call the Common Core Bullies Out. Just Say No to Standardized Testing.

gra·tu·i·tous  (gr-t-ts, -ty-)adj.
1. Given or granted without return or recompense; unearned.
2. Given or received without cost or obligation; free.
 Is public education gratuitous or forced?

Is the Blue Hat movement the beginning of the doom of Common Core?  Below is a story of a student's refusal to take the North Carolina's state test to protest standardized testing and the coming Common Core assessments.

You will discover and learn about the enormous bureaucracy strangling public schools.  You will learn about the bullying tactics of school administrators and lawyers.  What is the state's responsibility in the providing of education?  Is it to adhere to standardized testing and federal mandates?  In the last House hearing for SB210, Ron Calzone testified to what Missouri had to provide constitutionally in education.  From the Missouri Constitution:

Section 1(a). A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the general assembly shall establish and maintain free public schools for the gratuitous instruction of all persons in this state within ages not in excess of twenty-one years as prescribed by law.  

Read the rest of the education section here.  What is missing from the Constitution?  There is no legal adherence of children/parents to take standardized testing and the withholding of free public education for a student if he/she refuses to take such testing.  There is no Federal law on taking standardized testing either, so the threat of withholding education from citizens based on testing refusal may very well be illegal. 

Parents, this is how Common Core will begin to be defeated.  Be part of the Blue Hat movement started by this student and father.  Refuse to be part of the problem, instead, be part of the solution.  Don't be bullied by CCSS bullies.  Use those "anti-bullying" lessons mandated in curricula to your advantage and push back on the bureaucratic bullies on the school, district, state and national levels.  It is your decision on the educational direction for your child, not a bureaucrat who needs your child to test for AYP measures, financial remuneration from the Federal government based on test results or data gathered for other reporting purposes.

Read the comments after the article.  Contact the ACLU if you have stories of your student being denied a free public education because of opting out of standardized testing.  When standardized testing is not used to track student progress but is used for federal funding formulas, teacher/principal evaluations and data gathering, it is time for students to refuse to participate.  From one of the comments:

I’m not against standardized testing when it’s used strictly for evaluative purposes. In fact, testing can be quite helpful in identifying learning disabilities and be the first step in getting a child much need intervention services. I’m against standardized testing when it’s used for promotional purposes that wind up being punitive. It’s an insult to the teaching profession because it’s essentially taking the power of evaluating a student out of the teachers’ and principals’ hands…the very people who spend countless hours every school year with our children and know them much better than a ridiculous 3 hour test could.

It's time for parents to reclaim their educational decision making power.

From Opting Out-Updated


Zoe and I had quite an adventure today.  Watch the video below for details. 

In essence though, she was told that she is not able to attend school unless she is willing to take the test.  More to come on this as things develop.

Update and Timeline:

March 2013-Zoe and I form a crazy notion to start a national campaign to do something about the teach to the test standards.

April 2013-We decide it will start with a Youtube based revolution.  We call it the Blue Hat Movement.  We make a little website…and shoot some video content but decide that we are not ready yet to make a final one.  We also choose a date for a nationwide rally date for a boycott.  Zoe also says that “if we really want to make a statement, then I would like to opt out of taking the state tests this school year.”  I tell her that this kind of idea is way too big and discourage it.  But I do call the County Test Coordinator for Chapel Hill Public Schools.  I am told that though they must discourage her from not testing…she will not be harangued and will proceed to the next grade with no repercussions.

May 2013-Zoe becomes pretty much dead set on not taking the MSL’s at the least.  Her mom and I sign on.  Her mom even sets a meeting with the school principal.  The meeting never happens but Zoe’s mom is told that there will not be any negative side effects of Zoe not testing.

May 13, 2013-Tomorrow is the first MSL and I email her teachers a friendly note, even though they already know that she is opting out.  The note, verbatim, is below:

“Zoe will not be participating in the MSLs this school year, and we wanted you to both know why, so you are not caught off guard when the test day arrives.

Her choice, which her mother and I both support, stems from quite a lot of research.  In essence, not doing the MSL is an act of civil disobedience.  It is a well thought out plan.  Zoe feels, as do I, that the Common Core Standards, Obama’s Race to the Top, Standardized Testing, and Pearson Publishing are essentially harming education in our country.

Zoe basically just does not want to be a part of a system that doesn’t leave teachers free to teach in ways that they see fit from the start.   We would really love for McDougle’s administrators and teaching staff to support Zoe in her efforts to “vote” for a better form of education in our schools.  Change must start somewhere.  And as long as we keep giving kids these tests, that we do not wish to be giving them, nothing changes.  Zoe has just decided to be a part of the change now.

Please do let me know what activity she can do while the other students are taking the test.  She will be armed with many books to read and does not wish to be a distraction to the other students during test time.

Also please note that I already have spoken with the County Test Coordinator based out of the Lincoln Center and he is apprised of the situation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email or call me at _______.”


Read the principal's response (via the school district's lawyer) here.  Pay attention to this section:

I must also remind you that if she’s absent on test day and returns to school this year, we must test her when she returns.
I don’t have the latitude to not administer the test, regardless of the parents’ feelings on the matter.
I understand your concerns, but Zoe is hurting the teachers and our school by not testing. You may withdraw her if you want to protest the test.”

Parents, is this the gratuitous public education envisioned by the writers of the Missouri Constitution?  Did they believe the free education offered was to have students/parents avail themselves of educational opportunity or was the participation in education a collective experience that had to do with school funding and teacher evaluations?

It's time to say no.  It's time to call the bullies out.  There is no law in Missouri (check your state) or federal law compelling your students to be a collective lug nut in the education machine.


  1. Standardized testing could identify schools/districts who fail to set high expectations for their students. However, as you note, the problem comes down to how the student scores are used. They could also falsely give a district the impression that their programs are effective when in fact student scores are only high because parental support outside of school is so high (e.g. private tutoring, Kumon type programs etc.)

  2. We at United Opt Out National have been helping parents and students opt out of high stakes tests for over two years now. We finally have enough outreach support to create opt out guides for each state. These opt out guides should be done by this July/2013. It is essential that we create mass opt out before PARCC and SBAC take hold - once PARCC and SBAC take hold it will be much more difficult stop the implementation of common core via high stakes testing. Our website is www.unitedoptout.com and I can be reached at writepeg@juno.com.
    Peggy Robertson


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