Get Tough Guide


The following is a motivational piece written by co-founder and UOO admin Ceresta Smith from Florida. We call it the “Get Tough Guide” because parents will undoubtedly experience some pushback when refusing testing for their child. We have embedded the document below, or you can view a simple text version beneath.

Download (PDF, 32KB)

During the process of opting your child out of testing, you will probably meet with the following comments by administrators and district officials.

It is important that you ask that any of the following statements be put in writing on stationery with the school or the district’s letterhead.

I have listed the comments with the responses you may need to use to complete the process of opting your child out of standardized testing:

Your child has to stay home during the testing window.

I am a taxpayer, and you do not have the authority to bar my child from accessing this public good of which I contribute in the form of tax payment. I will call the police if you attempt to bar my child from entering the building.

Your child has to report to the test site.

Having my child report to the test site only to sit and stare into space for hours at a time is tantamount to solitary confinement. If you attempt to force my child to do so, I will report you to the child abuse authorities. If anyone places their hands on my child after he/she has respectfully declined to report to a test site, he/she has been instructed to call the police and file charges.

Your child will not graduate w/o the test.

As the parent, I have legal rights to the final say when it comes to my child’s education. My preference is the use of the PLAN or ACT test to prove my child’s proficiency in math and reading, as they are voluntary and allow me to receive a copy of my child’s actual test for review.

Your child will be retained.

The goal here is to demonstrate proficiency, and as a parent I have the legal right to request the use of a portfolio or alternative assessment to demonstrate my child’s ability. Upon review, together we will decide if that is necessary.

Your child will be placed in remedial classes.

The goal here is to demonstrate proficiency, and as a parent I have the legal right to request the use of a portfolio or alternative assessment to demonstrate, my child’s ability. I will be the one to decide along with your expertise if remediation is necessary.

We can not supply alternative activities for your child during testing.

It is my child’s right as a public school student to receive instruction daily, and if you do not do so, I will file a discrimination report with the district and consult an attorney.

You will cause the school to be deemed failing, and it will be under sanction or closed down.

To date no school has been closed for parents opting their children out of testing; they have been closed for parents opting their children in.

By Ceresta Smith, UOO Admin

Disclaimer: All documents on this website are for informational purposes only and do not substitute as legal advice or legal counsel. The information contained in this document and this website may or may not reflect the most current developments in education policy within our nation or within each state. Information shared here is not guaranteed to be correct or complete and UOO disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all contents of this website.


13 thoughts on “Get Tough Guide

    1. When is the best time to turn in the opt out paperwork to the school; the beginning of the year or right before test time?

            • I turned mine in before school started – but that’s just me. I hear some folks say it’s better to turn the paperwork in right before testing so as not to give them a heads up. My personal take is this – if you are planning to opt out/refuse then hand it in whenever it feels right to you. Some folks are told that they have handed it in too late. Just know -it is never too late. It’s your right to refuse the test for your children, whenever you choose to do so. Best, Peg,

    1. WHILE opting out seems very reasonable , the comments suggested above to arm oneself when speaking to school officials are unreasonable. They come off as full of anger, hatred and disgust. You might not find it just to impose testing on all, but remember that school officials are human beings; have a little compassion for the work they do and the difficult roles they are expected to play in this process. Take the politics to

      your politicians and your school board and dont make the teacher s job any harder than it is.

        • Agreed that the job of teachers and administrators is getting more difficult all the time, largely due to bureaucratic interference like common core. I always begin a search for a solution to a problem with the question: “Do you have the authority to do something about this for me? If you do not, please put me in touch with someone who does.” So often our first contact is with someone who can’t fix the problem even if they want to. It’s vital to get beyond that level before you waste your time (and theirs). Next, make sure that you let people know that you are on the same side. Teachers and administrators do care about our kids and want to help, but have been beaten into believing their hands are tied. Ask them to work with you to solve the problem rather than accepting that there is no solution. When you get to someone who refuses to think outside the box, that’s the one you have to leapfrog over to have any prayer of progress toward your goal.

          ©Copyright All Rights Reserved United Opt Out National


Leave a Reply