Great news! This Friday (4/10), a directive was sent to Philadelphia testing coordinators stating that any student with a letter from their parent will be able to opt out of the PSSA-- regardless of whether they've reviewed the test.
This means ANYONE can opt out of the test still*. Here's how:
Submit the following letter in writing (hand-written is fine), changing the names to suit your child and school.
To: _______________________ (principal's name)
From: _____________________ (parent/guardian's name)
Re: PSSA Test Refusal
As parent/guardian of _________________ (student's name) who is currently enrolled at ____________________ (school name) in the Philadelphia School District, I have serious concerns regarding the overuse and misuse of high-stakes standardized testing and its negative impact on the education my child is receiving. Therefore, my child ______________________ (student name) is under my directive as his/her parent NOT to take any PSSA assessment this school year.
I am writing to state that you must respect my legal parental rights. Do not place my child into the testing environment and do not present him/her with an assessment. My child will be considered to have refused the assessment, and you shall code his/her test as "other" as specified on page 9 of the PSSA Testing Coordinator's Handbook.
If my child has begun the PSSA, it is my wish that they complete that initial section, and that my refusal apply to all remaining sections of the PSSA not yet started. All remaining sections of the assessment shall be marked "other" for my child.
_______________________ (parental signature)
cc: Superintendent Hite (email@example.com)
* Please note if your child has begun a section of the PSSA (for example reading, which is the first section), you are not able to opt them out of that section. You are, however, able to opt them out of the next sections (for example math and science).
Here is the directive that was sent to all testing coordinators in the School District of Philadelphia on Friday afternoon:
Every student that has submitted a written opt-out request for religious OR non-religious reasons is excused from the test.If the parent put in a religious request for exemption and reviewed the test, testing coordinators have been instructed to mark the religious exemption bubble.
If the parent put in a non-religious request or if they didn't review the test, testing coordinators are to to mark the "other" bubble.And if you're still not sure about opting out, parent and opt-out advocate Tonya Bah (pictured below) offers this advice:
Albert Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “What is your genius?”
(Above: Parent Tonya Bah educates families near Broad and Olney; Below: Parent Shakeda Gaines shows off her new Opt Out car decorations.)