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Common Core in Arkansas: Opting out of PARCC testing

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Many parents are concerned about the privacy issues surrounding PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing. This concern is not unfounded. PARCC is one of two testing arms associated with Common Core. The test results are not kept private. In addition to generalized information that is grouped by school or grade, personally identifying information is passed to the U.S. Department of Education and any other agency it sees fit. Parents are not notified about when or if this information is shared and they have no control and little power to stop it. One way to protest PARCC and Common Core is to opt out of testing.

Opting out

Opting out is something that is available to public, charter, and maybe private school students--depending on the private school’s testing policy. At this point, not every public school in Arkansas is using PARCC. It is in the pilot stage this year, next year it will be implemented fully across all schools. In order to legally opt out of testing, a child must attend school on the day of the test and they must tell the teacher in charge that they are opting out. Forms for your child to keep with them and to deliver to the teacher and the school can be found on the Arkansas Against Common Core’s website.

On testing day, your child should attend school as normal. They should give their teacher a copy of the form and give a copy of the form to the test administrator. Another copy should be kept with your child. If the test administrator asks your child to take the test, they should reply that they refuse to do so. Arkansas law allows for this and there should be no negative consequences for your child if they refuse to take the test.

For private schools, consult the school’s manual about testing policy.

Homeschool opt out

Homeschoolers have different rules about testing than traditionally schooled children in Arkansas. The law for homeschoolers is clear regarding refusal to test.

§ 6-15-504 (e)(1)(A) Any student who refuses to participate in the testing program or the alternate testing

program required by this section has not met the statutory prerequisites for home schooling and, as

any other student, shall be subject to the applicable Arkansas laws regarding truancy.

So, how do you opt out of PARCC testing when you homeschool? First, it is unclear if the state provided tests for homeschoolers will be PARCC. Usually, homeschooled children take Iowa Test of Basic Skills or another test that is different from the public school tests. If you are concerned as a homeschooler about PARCC, then use the test with a private agency option when registering. At that point, you as the parent are in charge of which test your child takes. Low cost options include CAT 5 from Seton Testing Services and Stanford from BJU Press.

Lynda Altman is very concerned about the state of the public schools in Arkansas and the United States. She writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.

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