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The Charter School Advocate
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SCHOOL OBLIGATIONS REGARDING
PARENT RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT TESTING OPT-OUT

Good Morning,

During the course of the last month we have received a number of inquiries focused around the following three questions.
  1. What rights do parents have relative to Opting-Out of state and local tests?
  2. What responsibilities does a school have about informing parents about Opting-Out of state and local tests?
  3. What will be the impact on schools, especially related to achieving academic goals that have been agreed upon in the charter contract between the charter school board and authorizer?
This memo is focused on QUESTIONS 1 and 2 only as Question 3 is something that individual school board of directors will need to address with the authorizer for an answer depending on the specific academic goal in the school’s charter contract.

Question # 1 - What rights do parents have relative to Opting-Out of state and local tests?

Under the new federal law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), parents must be notified at the beginning of each school year that parents may request information about the state or LEA policy regarding student participation in any state or LEA mandated assessments, and the procedure, or right to opt-out of the assessment.

STATUTORY REFERENCE
 
ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)
Section 1112 Local Education Agency Plans: (E) Parents Right to Know
 
‘‘(2) TESTING TRANSPARENCY.—
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL .—At the beginning of each school year, a local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall notify the parents of each student attending any school receiving funds under this part that the parents may request, and the local educational agency will provide the parents on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding any State or local educational agency policy regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by section 1111(b)(2) and by the State or local educational agency, which shall include a policy, procedure, or parental right to opt the child out of such assessment, where applicable.

 
Question # 2 - What responsibilities does a school have about informing parents about Opting-Out of state and local tests?

In addition to annually notifying parents, Minnesota schools have the responsibility for utilizing the state form created and developed by the commissioner when parents choose to Opt-out. The 2016 Minnesota Legislature required the commissioner to develop the form and outlined what information needs to be in the form.

Note: The Department does not yet have the form developed. It is on their to-do list.

STATUTORY REFERENCE

New Section of Law Enacted by the 2016 MN Legislature

Sec.22. Minnesota Statutes 2014 section 120B.31, is amended by adding a subdivision to read:

Subd.4a. Student participation. The commissioner shall create and publish a form for parents and guardians to complete if they refuse to have their student participate in state or locally required standardized testing. The form must state why there are state academic standards, indicate which tests are aligned with state standards, and what consequences, if any, the school or student may face if a student does not participate in state or locally required standardized testing. This form must ask parents to indicate a reason for their refusal.

 
Again, Question # 3 will require conversation between the charter school board of directors and authorizer.

We hope that this short Question and Answer format is helpful to you.
 
Eugene Piccolo
Executive Director
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