Park the PARCC: toolkit for refusal

Your child can refuse PARCC testing.  Although the IL State Board of Education does not recognize parental right to opt children out of testing, they have instructed districts that they can develop a policy for those students who refuse testing.

Federal law requires all public schools in the United States to administer annual testing in reading and math to 3-8th grade and one year of high school. However, it does not say that every child, against their and their families wishes, must participate in the testing.

We recommend parents inform their children’s school of the following via letter:

My child will be refusing all PARCC testing. I expect school officials and employees to treat my child with kindness and respect and allow them to engage in alternative quiet activities during the test. Please let me know what arrangements you are making for my child and others who refuse PARCC.

Below are materials you may find useful for yourself and sharing with others during the testing window. [Although we have not updated these for the 2016-2017 school year, there have been no changes in state law or ISBE policy since spring 2016, so almost everything here can be reused for this year. We do recommend that you check Raise Your Hand’s Testing Toolkit for 2017 specific materials and news.] 

Let us know what is happening before and during the testing window at your school: Call (413)-3OPT-OUT or email or tweet @MTAS_chicago.

We are happy to give support and advice to anyone running into difficulties with PARCC refusal.

Expecting children to refuse high-stakes standardized testing themselves and ignoring parent/guardian wishes on this matter is wrong. We need an opt out law in Illinois. Learn more here about HB 306 the Opt Out Bill and call your state rep and senator to demand that they support it.

More resources on PARCC and refusal:
Let’s Talk Testing on CAN TV  (March 2016)
Drummond LSC letter on PARCC and opt out
United Opt Out Get Tough Guide
Student refusal card (9-per sheet pdf for printing)
ISBE documentation of not testing code for Student Refusal
ISBE Non-Regulatory Guidance on the use of Code 15 in Student Assessments
MTAS statement on misinformation from ISBE (Fall 2014)
Your child CAN choose to refuse PARCC
PARCC: What parents need to know
Ten Reasons to Refuse the PARCC test from Park the PARCC Evanston
Sample PARCC tests: Go to “Test Preparation” -> “Sample Tests”
Park the PARCC petition requesting that IL State Board of Education seek a waiver from the US Department of Education
Park the PARCC position paper (pdf in English and in Spanish)
What you need to know about PARCC (English and Spanish)
How and Why to Park the PARCC webinar recording (Powerpoint slides)
Evanston Township board meeting. Discussion of problems with PARCC administration for high schools beginning at minute 47.
Public letter from 30 Illinois school districts opposing 2015 administration of the PARCC (2.3.2014)
Letter from 42 Illinois school districts asking for a delay in PARCC administration (1.30.2015)


11 responses to “Park the PARCC: toolkit for refusal

  1. Instead of petitioning ISBE or DOE, we should be petitioning our governor, state reps and state senators. If they write a law providing for parental opt out, our districts won’t have to suffer under the 95% rule.

    • Yes, please call your state senator, Senate President John Cullerton and the governor about passing HB306, the opt out bill. It did pass the IL House last year, but is now stalled in the IL Senate.

      It’s likely the feds would continue to make threats against the state if HB306 became law, but at least parents and students would have the weight of state law on their side when they exercised their (existing) right to refuse high-stakes testing. Families who need assistance opting out should contact us:

  2. Please produce t shirts for children. The proceeds can be used to fund your organization and efforts. I would just love to repeatedly send my child to school wearing this shirt (having it made if I must) to make a point. Keep up the work.

  3. A useful video against standardized testing (teachers and education experts outline 5 reasons against it):

    Spread the message!

  4. Dist.41 Glen Ellyn is revoking any parent and student requests to refuse students from taking the PARCC testing program. They are MANDATED to take these stupid and worthless tests. We are all TOLD if the student is absent or refuses to take the testing, they WILL have make up testing for them when they do return to school at any given day. Then Dist. 41 Glen Ellyn has called many parents with a voice recording stating ALL students MUST take these tests per state and governmental laws. If your child refuses or does not take these tests, the child could be in governmental law penalties.

  5. Does this also apply to the DLM? The Illinois alternative assessment for students with moderate to severe disabilities.

    • Yes, we are assuming all the policies that apply to PARCC testing with respect to refusal/opt out also apply to DLM. Unfortunately, in many cases students taking the DLM are not in a position to be able to refuse the DLM themselves. This is why we need an opt out law; parents should be able to make the decision to refuse testing for their child and have it respected. If you are having difficulties with your school or district wrt refusal of DLM, please let us know:

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