United Opt Out National received the following letter regarding another successful FCAT opt out. Royellen Moore, parent in Orlando, has also said she is happy to answer any questions about her experience. Please read the letter and also check our Florida section for more information. If you have questions for Royellen please post them in the comment section.
My son opted out of FCAT two years ago (the 2010/11 school year) in Orange County, Fl (Orlando). We were told, incorrectly, we couldn’t opt out because he’d fail 3rd grade, have to take summer remedial reading, be truant b/c he couldn’t be at school or he’d be tested, etc. All the usual stuff.
My husband and I decided to skip further talks with the principal and District personnel (since they didn’t know the law) and go straight to the district’s legal adviser. We met and on May 19th, 2011 received a letter indicating that yes, a student portfolio was an option to allow our son’s promotion to 4th grade. Our son didn’t take the FCAT, the school provided a student portfolio and he was promoted to fourth grade.
The fact that my husband and I are both lawyers helped of course- we came to the meeting with the relevant statutes, argued why they applied and provided a couple newspaper articles about others who had opted out of FCAT (including a school board member in another county). Legal, it seemed, was not expecting us to be so prepared (although I am sure they were warned we were lawyers).
If this would be helpful to another Florida family, please share. And in Orange County, Florida, the Orange County Public School’s legal’s Associate General Counsel, Eileen Fernandez, authored a May 19th, 2011 letter documenting that student portfolios are an acceptable way to allow promotion to fourth grade. (In Florida, you must show reading proficiency in third grade to be promoted to fourth grade.)
Thanks for all your hard work! I hated what the FCAT mania was doing to my son, his education and his school. I’m sure it is even worse now that teacher pay is tied to it and FCAT standards have to keep going up since there are only a couple years left before everyone has to be proficient.