Opt Out, Refuse, and State Assessments

A brief article titled As Students Refuse Tests, Washington Superintendent Warns Of Consequences has an audio clip with parts of an interview with Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Dorn.

The article says SPI Dorn does not like the phrase “opt-out”. He uses the term “refusal”. Other school officials across the country have started using refuse instead of opting out.

Let’s examine the terms a little here before getting into some of the other issues. For file000220042365the purpose at hand, I am using The Free Dictionary online.

Opt is defined as to make a choice or decision and opt out is defined as to choose not to participate in something. Some synonyms for opt are choose, decide, prefer, select, elect, and see fit. It is indicated that opt does not equal reject, dismiss, exclude, eliminate, rule out, turn down, or preclude.

Refuse is defined as to indicate unwillingness to do, accept, give, or allow. Some synonyms for refuse are decline, reject, spurn, and rebuff. It is indicated that refuse does not equal accept, take, or have.

Parents in Washington have the legal right to have their child not participate in state assessments. In exercising their legal right, they are making a choice or decision to not have their child participate in something. They are exercising their option, or opting out. SPI Dorn and others can call it what they want, and it may be splitting hairs, but opting out seems to be a more positive term than refuse. It may depend on one’s perspective. Those opting out may see their action as a positive while school officials likely see this action as a negative and opt to use the term refuse.

SPI Dorn is quoted as saying and can be heard on the audio as saying,

“It’s really a refusal to take an assessment that’s required by the federal government.”

file8441235839775Let’s be clear on the issue of the assessment being required by the federal government. No Child Left Behind requires states to administer state assessments. That is the requirement of the federal government. Requiring state assessments to be administered does not mean that every student has to participate. So, to restate, it may be mandatory for schools to administer assessments, but that does not mean it is mandatory every child take the assessment.

SPI Dorn is also quoted as saying.

“There could be an investigation to see if teachers did file0001529644054encourage not to take the test – and that to me, is an ethics violation, a code of conduct violation, and a teacher could be disciplined.”

Can you imagine how it will play out if there is an investigation?



4 thoughts on “Opt Out, Refuse, and State Assessments

  1. This is simply a power hungry federal invasion upon a people to bully them into compliance. They are utilizing federal dollars, bribs, whatever you’d like to call it, as the assessments have “No evidence based data” and are written by political non- academic individuals to collect private information for finacial gains. There really is no academic purpose to the PAARCC/CMAS evaluations other than to indoctrinate our children. The evaluations are taking precious school time away from the learning environment of our children.

  2. Any law the federal government passes regarding education standards is unconstitutional. The Constitution of the United States of America does not list education at all therefore it is the States and local governments to legislate education. We need someone to sue the Federal Government over this and put and end to it.

    • I think we need to start using “anti-constitutional” when it comes to those things government does, or threatens to do, which are not clearly within its domain.

  3. If government wishes to take the “refusal” path, then they/it intend(s) to push the People ( the source of all of government’s authorities ) into acting beyond opt-out, or sit down and shut up. Of the two, they/it hope(s) for the latter, because submission == win for them/it.

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