Opt-Out Forms

NEW: USOE issues statement regarding opt-outs 9-23-14

See this article for why you MUST opt your children out of computer adaptive tests.

Then watch this 15-minute video on data collection, but don’t watch it right before bed as it’s been known to cause insomnia.

Follow these steps to Opt Out of Utah’s Common Core tests called SAGE:

1. Make copies of the SAGE test opt out form to deliver to each of your children’s schools

2. Tell your child’s teachers that you are Opting Out of ALL computer adaptive tests, including any practice tests that they may administer.

3. Ensure they understand your child should not be punished for this and per instructions from the state superintendent your child can take an alternative test during this time but it should not affect your child negatively in any way.

Is your district opt-out friendly? Click here to see. (this is superseded now that SB 122 was signed into law. It is quoted in the opt out form above.)

Dual Enrollment – This post discusses dual-enrollment where you can pull your child out of school and homeschool one or more subjects while having your child in school for the other classes.

Here is the original opt-out form if you want it for anything.

93 Responses to Opt-Out Forms

  • Linda Spencer says:

    If Utah has already opted out of the standardized testing, are these forms still necessary? Are there still other types of tests related to Common Core that are being given? Also, my grandkids attend Westfield Elementary in Highland … have there been any issues with this school that anyone is aware of?

    THANKS!!!

    • Oak Norton says:

      No, there is no requirement for your child to take state tests at this time. However, Common Core still impacts you because the people behind it are also in charge of the ACT/SAT/AP/CLEP exams and they are working to align those to Common Core. There will no longer be independent exams.

      • Rachaeal says:

        Ok, so my son brought home consent forms today from his charter school for his ACT Prep class in 10th Grade. Can I use the opt out forms form for this or is it compulsory to take,. Will it make a difference to ask for him to take the prep and test with pen and paper not computer adapted test? It specifically says, practice exams and personal data documentation. Will this penalize him for college courses or . . . . ? Wanting to know what you suggest please?

      • Lori says:

        I need a response asap, please. I was told my kids can opt out of SAGE testing but not DIBELS writing tests and assessment. If the SB 122 says all computer adaptive testing that should include DIBELS . correct?

        • Oak Norton says:

          Lori, per SB 122, it appears you can opt out of ANY statewide test, or even NAEP.
          (9) (a) Upon the written request of a student’s parent or guardian, an LEA shall excuse
          87 the student from taking a test that is administered statewide or the National Assessment of
          88 Educational Progress.

        • Suzanne says:

          My kids’ school is substituting a pen/paper version of DIBELS since I gave them the opt out form…and the principal tells me they’ll just manually enter the scores for submission to the state. I have no problem with the teachers knowing how my children are reading….But it looks like the state will still end up with data on my kids despite my efforts.

  • Hayley says:

    Oak,

    My kids are currently enrolled in Harmony Education, a learning center where I homeschool them 5 days of the week and they attend on site 1 day a week for elective-type classes. I am in charge of their core. I was just reading over their enrollment process for next year and it states I must agree to have the Sage testing done or I can not enroll in their school. Am I not able to have the right to opt out of testing and still attend the school?

    • Carie Valentine says:

      You are not able to opt them out of the testing for a charter school. Charter schools’ contracts with the state say that without a certain percentage of students taking the computer adaptive tests, the state will pull funding or they will take over the school if the test scores are bad enough. Charters are in a particularly poor spot with all of the education reform because they really have no allowances. It is ironic since most charter schools were started to provide more choices for parents who wanted a different fit for their kids.
      If you are concerned about the testing your option at this point is to not participate in any school programs that are publicly funded. It sounds like charter schools are being hit with stricter requirements from the state given the push back from parents about the testing.
      If your child attends a traditional public school you can opt them out of the testing but be forewarned schools can count the SAGE tests towards student grades and grade advancement. The state is forcing parents to do what they want by holding grades and advancement hostage and it has been written into the law that schools can do it too. The law has been there since 2010-I think-but now that Common Core has come along the state may be encouraging the schools to hold to the law to force students to participate in the testing so they can get their data.
      The only way you truly avoid the testing issue is to do traditional home school. That puts you outside the reach of the state to force the testing issue.

    • Claire Edwards Grover says:

      Our charter school (who simply pays for some of our homeschooling expenses) also has this requirement. I’ve discussed the possibility of opting out of SAGE testing with them. They said they have a very strict mandate for ALL of their students to take the tests, in order to continue getting funding. In other words, if we chose to opt out, we would not be invited back to be part of the school/ get funding from them in the future. I think it may be time for me to take a stand. Good luck with these hard decisions!

      • Oak Norton says:

        Claire, ask Harmony for the actual document where it says that. My understanding is they lose no funding at all but that if more than 5% opt out they get a failing grade as a school. Please ask for that document so we know once and for all. In ASD, at one meeting, there was a person from the district or state who said if enough schools had students opt out the state would have to change their grading mechanism. We can take down SAGE tests if we get enough people opting out.

        • Nancy Nebeker says:

          My child goes to Soldier Hollow Charter School and I gave the principal an opt out form and she later that day in a meeting said she had called the State and they told her as long as the child is in class and not taking the tests they would still get full participation credit for the school. So she had asked parents that opt-out to have their children attend school and they would not be docked for participation.
          I would have the principals double check on that.

  • Kim Kehrer says:

    I agree with Carie. The only way to honestly avoid any of the testing is to pull your kids out and school yourself without any attachment.

    Last year Harmony allowed the opt out. But this year, Harmony is not allowing it. This is the situation. Simplified-Harmony contracts to buy SIS numbers from the individual schools. These SIS numbers, provide the funding per child. Because of the number of Harmony students who just didn’t bother to show up without doing proper forms with the school, many of the schools were harmed by the scoring process by the Harmony kids last year. Merit Academy being one of them and they got a lawyer and removed themselves from the Harmony contract. They are doing superb without the Harmony attachment.

    Perception: Harmony kids tend to bring the scores down. Of course! They don’t teach to the test! ( Although as a side note, my kids have always blew away the exams because they were so dumbed down. That is is if you teach classical ed.)

    Two things may be happening: Either the schools have put a stipulation in their contract that Harmony kids must test if they want the reimbursement or Harmony is trying to salvage their reputation of bringing in low, unreliable students.

    The option for the people is to go to the school directly through which they are enrolled and ask for an opt out. This allows the school to control the percentage of students who must test. If the schools has the space for any additional opt outs then I can’t imagine it will be a problem. But if they don’t it will trickle down, and I am sure they will be denied the educational opportunities.

    Unfortunately if everyone opts out the option to participate will become obsolete. And thus Harmony will not be able to function without government funds. This is the hopes of the school board to remove such options.

    The percentage is very low 5 percent as I currently understand. Most charter schools can only allow 3-5 kids to opt out. That doesn’t play well for the Harmony kids or any kids involved with the contracted programs of Harmony. Since Harmony contracts with charter schools.

    WIth Provo eschool there is an opt out. But here you are dealing with a school district not a charter school. I have heard but I don’t know for certain that with MyTechHigh you can not opt out but you can with Provo Eschool which MyTech gets their SIS numbers from.

    I understand the parents concern. But I have written up a blog after seeing the test first hand.

    http://hsplaywithapurpose.blogspot.com/2013/11/dual-enrollment-and-state-tests-from.html

    • Helen says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write a response and include your blog post. I found it very informative and clear. It helped me a lot. Thank you.

    • love2learn says:

      Thanks so much for the info Kim I really appreciate your input. I have practice tests and we have been going over the writing test for 3rd to 5th grade. there is an article called Too Much Clutter! Neat is Nice but Clutter is Cool? It begins by talking about things you might find on a refrigerator door. Then it tells us that “Scientists” studied families and “they found that most of these families had too much stuff. One easy way to tell if a family had too many things was to look at their refrigerator door. If there was a lot of clutter on the door, there was likely to be a lot of clutter in the house.” When my 3rd grader reads that “scientists studied” she will believe that what she is reading is fact. It goes on to tell of “a picture from the study with a book case with 24 shelves, each shelf had between 5 and 12 items on it. there were almost 200 toys on that shelf.” It doesn’t say that the toys were cluttered on the shelves… we do not know how many children live in this home… Then we are told “Jeanne E. Arnold, a professor who did the study, said, “What we have is a time capsule of America. No other study has been done like this. Imagine how exciting it would be if we could go back to 1912 and see how people were living in their homes. That’s the core of any society.” What does that paragraph have to do with the clutter or tidy subject, and what is a 3rd grader going to get out of that?

      The article goes on, “Scientists around the world wanted to find out if people who were neater were better at things than people who had a lot of clutter. What they found out surprised them. They found out that tidy places cause people to stick to what they know. That was not such a surprise. But they also discovered that messy spaces cause creative thinking. In the studies people were given tasks in a room where things were neat and orderly. Others were given tasks in a room where papers and books were on the floor. In a study in Denmark, college students filled out paperwork in each room. When they were done, they were asked to give money to a good cause. Most of the students from the neat room said yes. But, more than half of the students in the messy room said no.” not quite sure what saying no to giving to a good cause has to do with “creativity…. I personally think that this is not grade appropriate,

      Here is the assignment…

      The readings talked about clutter and being tidy. Write an essay in which you give your opinion: Is clutter sometimes okay, or should you always try to be neat? Use the information from the passages in your essay.

      Manage your time carefully so that you can•
      Plan your essay

      Write your essay•
      Revise and edit your essay

      Spend about 30-40 minutes on this essay, including the time you spend reading, planning, writing, revising, and editing. Your essay should be at least one paragraph in length.

      Type your answer in the space provided

      What do the rest of you think?

      • Pastorale says:

        This reminds me of one of the core requirements for 8th grade, “Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation” I wonder if someone got the requirements crossed?

        I do not find the question grade appropriate.

      • Anonymous says:

        love2learn,

        This essay might be too advanced for 3rd graders when they are just starting out to learn the scientific method but I think it very appropriate for 4th and 5th graders. To give them all the information, you would also have to give them statistical p-values that went along with the study but they are not yet trained to process that. But what it does do is give them results from studies and use the words like most, more than half etc. to try to get them to form opinions based on observations. School and district science fairs are full of projects like this where, they not only spark the imagination of the students doing the project but also the people who come to judge/ see these projects. To use deductive reasoning, observe correlations between seemingly unrelated phenomena and ask open ended questions towards the end, to leave the door open for more research. Science and critical thinking demand that, even if it challenges some of our personal values and beliefs. If it did not, we would still be going around thinking the earth is flat and the is the center of the universe :)
        Kids also need to be taught that scientists can be wrong and that they need to be judged on the merit of their science and not on the fact that they are scientists.

    • stacy says:

      I just tried to opt out with My Tech High, this was the response I got from them: Due to our flexible, personalized curriculum approach, all students are required to take the state tests. If your students were enrolled in just a regular, neighborhood public school, you could opt-out of the state tests.

      There are 4 places where you already agreed to these terms to participate in our program:
      On your original application, you agreed to the following:
      “Student agrees to adhere to all program policies and requirements, including participation in state testing. Review details at mytechhigh.com/utah.”
      The Program Requirements listed on mytechhigh.com/utah state:
      “Complete of all required state tests: DIBELS, DWA, SAGE (as listed here)”
      The required Student-Parent Orientation in Homeroom states:
      “I will do my best to prepare well for all required tests.”
      The reimbursement form (see link) you submitted to receive technology and other reimbursements, states the following:
      “By submitting this form, I acknowledge that my student is not enrolled in any other Utah school (unless approved) and agrees to stay enrolled as a full-time, home-based, distance education student of My Tech High’s Partner School throughout the entire school year. Unless I move out of state, I understand that if I withdraw at any time prior to the last day of instruction or fail to demonstrate active participation towards my approved educational plan (including all required testing), I am obligated to return or repay all costs associated with any curriculum, software and technology reimbursements.”

      • Oak Norton says:

        Wendy Hart, Alpine School District Board Member, wrote this in reply to someone asking about the difficulty of opting out from a charter school:
        “I’d just ask why Alpine School District is more willing to allow parents their parental rights than a charter school that was built on the idea of parental choice. I would also suggest that the board send a formal request to the USOE/State Board to change their grading structure so as to not allow teachers and schools to be punished for parents exercising their legal and constitutional parental rights.
        I’m always amazed at how many people just go along with ‘the system’ because it’s ‘the system’. I guess I’ve never been willing to accept ‘no’ for an answer if something is unfair.”

    • Pastorale says:

      I am new to Harmony this year. I would really appreciate discussing this point in more detail. We switched to Harmony from Nebo for a multitude of reasons, one of them being the non answers that basically detached me from my children’s education in pretty much every way.

  • ERIN says:

    Maybe you can answer this?? I went and spoke with my elem school principal to opt out. He said it is not necessary till the 3rd grade ( I have a 2nd grader). He also told me there is no personal data collected in the CAT/SAGE tests. HELP!!! PLease!! need some real answers…

    • Jason Cousineau says:

      Erin,

      I know this is late, but all you have to ask is if the child’s name is placed on the test (it is for SAGE testing). If the name is on the test then the answers to those questions are tied to your child. That is personal data, especially considering the nature of the questions we’re hearing about that have nothing to do with basic math or English skills.

      – Jason

  • Lisa says:

    I am currently doing k12 online through alpine online which is done through alpine
    School district. My question is who should I be sending the opt out form to for testing
    And I have read their documents and I don’t see anywhere that requires my kids to
    Take the tests so do you think they will let us opt out without major problems? I was
    Just wondering if anyone else has tried to opt out with them and what happened?
    Thanks

  • Very Concerned Parent says:

    I’m just learning about what Common Core is and all about the SAGE tests. I currently have two students, Kindergarten & 11th grade, who are enrolled in Utah Connections Academy online school. We are new to the online school, we’ve only been enrolled for less then 2 months. I’ve heard from teachers about SAGE testing coming up. I thought it was just a different type of test that they use because they’re an online school. I’m very concerned with all of this. I’m wondering about opting out with them. What can they legally do if I refuse to allow my 11th grader to take the test? What are my legal rights as far as opting out or viewing what type of questions they will be asked before hand? I am very concerned because my student just recently took the ACT and we were warned by email and by certified letter informing us of the date of the test and that if a student does not show up, we would be immediately un enrolled from the school. These emails and certified letters were sent to all parents of students taking the ACT. Can they do that with the SAGE tests? Is there anyone who has any knowledge or experience with Utah Connections Academy and if they will allow opting out of SAGE tests?

    • Cheryl Benkert says:

      I pulled my kids out of UCA. We have been with UCA for 3 years. It had been the only school that really clicked for 2 of my kids. But with the amount of junk that they were teaching with LA and SS, made it easier for me to teach them at home, so I didn’t have to reteach them.
      Don’t know about SAGE, but I did realize that is the out of town testing that my kids had to do last year…
      Just my experience…

    • Jenny Brown says:

      Did you find out anything further about opting out with Utah connections academy? I am unsure if I can opt out my 8th grader. We won’t be attending there next year, we will be at a charter school in NSL. Any info you have would be appreciated.

      • Lori says:

        I too am a UCA parent. You can opt out of SAGE tests without repercussions. Contact your teacher and let them know to get the ball rolling.

  • Natalie says:

    My kids just took writing assessment tests last week, I am now wondering if these are the safe test you are speaking of. This is the first time they have taken these computerized tests. So now what do I do? I guess I can still opt them out. Do you have to opt them out each school year?

  • Laura Mammen says:

    Has anyone had any experience with Nebo school district seeing as they are the one district being uncooperative?

    • Pam V. says:

      I sent in my Opt-Out form to the principals a Salem Hills and Salem Jr. at the end of February 2014. The High School principal has been very nice. He acknowledges the parents rights and has no problem with it. (The principal at the Jr. High was not there when I took in my form, and I haven’t been able to talk to her personally.) They both sent my Opt Out request on to the District.
      Nebo District sent me a letter saying thank you for being interested in your child’s education, but basically you can’t opt out. And, if your student is absent and doesn’t take the test then it MAY hurt their grade and the school grade. It also said that they looked at the utah codes that I quoted and said it doesn’t support my right to opt out. (I don’t believe for one second that they looked at those codes.) BTW, the Principal did not receive a copy of the letter that the District sent to me.
      I am waiting another week until I can get a copy of that statement by Superintendent Menlove that he is going to release this coming week, then I will go and speak with the District. From what I understand, the SAGE tests are soon to be administered after the end of the term which ends March21. My boys know enough that they will NOT take the tests and will even come home “ill” if need be. The school is pretty good with informing the parents when tests will be so that the students can come to school well rested and able to do their best on the tests. (Note, tests are given in 3rd grade and older.)

      • Carie Valentine says:

        http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE53A/htm/53A13_010102.htm
        This part of Utah code may be used as an alternate argument too. The law does state that a parent has the right to opt their child out of the test and that the school may label the child as non-proficient and that their end of year scores may be used to determine advancement to the next grade.
        Utah law also states that parents have the primary responsibility to rear their children’s education too. You can opt out but there are things they can do if they want to be nasty. You can also demand they utilize the cumulative work from the entire year for assessing your child’s grades and advancement.

    • JenJen says:

      I currently have a phone call pending with Seth Sorensen at Nebo School District about opting out of the Common Core testing and surveys for my four children. I’ll let you know how it goes. So far only one of my children’s teachers have been supportive of me making choices like these for my children. ALL of the others (including a pricipal) have tried to bully me and threaten me into having my children take the tests. In fact one teacher spent the whole hour I was in her class to help lecturing me on what a terrible decision I was making. The only reason I didn’t walk out was because my son would’ve had a breakdown had I left. I’ve found that most teachers don’t understand what these tests really are and what do…or COULD do. A couple of my kids have been told that they need to make me change my mind or I’ll hurt their futures. I’M SO SICK OF FEELING BULLIED!!!

  • lnkmom says:

    Please, please, please be prepared for your Principals to push back on this. We have a great Principal, but they will be having a meeting at our school next week to talk about the new testing. The Principal mentioned that they will be explaining how students who Opt-Out will receive a score of “1”… which is basically a failing grade (because of past problems with schools trying to keep lower achieving students home on testing days to up their overall school scores on the previous UT tests).

    This Principal basically told me (because I have already given the Opt-Out forms to the school for each of my kids) that it would be better for my kids (because they will get the “1”) and for the school for everyone to just take the test. I said, “Well, I guess my kids will be getting a “1” then. We are not changing our minds on this.”

    So don’t let the schools bully you into letting your children be guinea-pigs for this untested and unknown test! Stand firm! If you school is having a meeting to “explain” (aka. coerce you into making your kids take the tests) the tests, go to it and tell other parents that they have a choice!

    • Mary says:

      The principle at my kids former school recently told a parent there are good LDS teachers at that school that are watching out for the students, so not to worry about her kids. They are in good hands. So sad that parents trust someone’s faith to look out for their children instead of studying the issue for theirselves. When it comes down to it most teachers will do as they are told in order to keep their job.

      • JenJen says:

        That principal was out of line even bringing up religion in that context!!! That would make me trust them even less had that been said to me. I come to learn that it is the people who bring up religion in inappropriate settings that are the ones you need to keep your eyes on the most. Just my experience…

  • Jennie says:

    I sent in the opt-out forms for my 3 students and the principal is telling me the forms I submitted, which I got here, are for Alpine School District and I can’t use these for Granite. Any ideas? I can’t see anywhere that indicates these are for Alpine only.

    • Jackie says:

      I had the same thing happen. It says “Alpine with not be adversely affected” etc. It was embarrassing when I took the form in and the secretary noted that too. Having said that I will report that she just gave me their form and I wrote down my student’s name. It was Murray District and they were very kind and asked no questions. The form was straight forward. I asked if I should take this to the principal and she said no that they would take care of it.

    • Mark says:

      Jenni, Jackie:The form is generic for all districts. While it does mention Alpine district and superintendEnts Menlove and Henshaw, it is only in the context of supporting statements, IE “Superintendent Vern Henshaw has stated that Alpine district’s students will not be 
      adversely affected if they are opted out of the testing, and believe this should be the case for all 
      districts.”
      The legal portions of the opt-out form are all generic to the entire state. There is nothing in the form that makes it specific to Alpine district. If your principal insists that the form is for Alpine only, refer him to the first two paragraphs and note that the rest is just additional reasons for opting out, not legal permission to opt out.

  • MaryAnn Spainhower says:

    I have been reading many state codes and can not find anywhere that the school can list them as non-proficient, only that the students academic or citizenship performance can not be penalized. If I have missed this somewhere would someone point me in the right direction.

  • Mike D says:

    I emailed these forms to my three children’s teachers. One teacher replied right away and said he pulled her from one of the tests in the middle of it. Apparently they were taking one that day. He just had her read a book. I then got an email from the principal just asking for signed forms. I delivered them to her after school that day. She emailed me a couple times for clarification and to ask if hand written tests graded by the teacher and not reported to the state were okay and so far has been very supportive. It depends on the school apparently but the only way to make this more common and better understood is for more parents to be willing to stand up and deliver these letters.

  • Heather says:

    Duchesne County was good to work with about opting out of SAGE testing. Not one person gave me any problems the only thing I came across was a counselor at one school asked what my issue was against the testing. I simply stated: “I don’t believe in common core or it’s standards and never have.” That was it no more discussion.

  • Jeff N says:

    Lone Peak High School just gave the SAGE test to Sophomore students today. A day before the SAGE Community meetings informing and educating the parents of these tests. I called the office and asked why they are giving the test before notifying the parents, and the answer was “because of scheduling difficulties, they chose to give it today to sophomores only.” What???

  • Pam V. says:

    At Salem Jr. High the English “End of the Year” practice test was given on March 21, 2014. An email came informing the parents that the End of the Year testing in English would be Tues – Thurs (March 25-27). My son’s English teacher told him that is was a required test and that is what they would be doing today. So, he went to the counselors office and they wrote him a note saying that he didn’t need to take the test.
    Because Nebo district did not give us the Opt -Out “permission”, they letter was never taken around to the teachers. I’ve still got to carve out some time to get over to the district office and talk to them.

    Wendy, has the Alpine school board received that letter from Superintendent Menlove that ALL parents have the right to opt out their children from testing? I would love to have a copy of that letter in my hand when I go in to address Seth Sorensen.

    JenJen, how did your call with Mr. Sorensen go?

  • Lyn says:

    My kids do school online through Washington school district using the k-12 curriculum. The school says it is NOT a homeschool program but is “an online public school.” Washington County School district is on the opt out list so would that also include their Utahonline school?

  • Rachel says:

    My daughter will be starting Kindergarten at Walden, a charter school in Provo, this fall. What ages does this testing start? I want to stay ahead of this if I can.

  • Pam V. says:

    YES!! I am excited to share the news with you that SB122 was just signed into law in Utah.
    http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/SB0122.html Paste that into your browser and read it for yourself.
    (see lines 86-92)

    A parent can now opt-out of SAGE tests with absolute confidence in their right to opt-out. It also insures schools and teachers won’t be punished for that choice.
    “(9) (a) Upon the written request of a student’s parent or guardian, an LEA shall excuse the student from taking a test that is administered statewide or the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
    (b) The State Board of Education shall ensure through board rule that neither an LEA nor its employees are negatively impacted through school grading or employee evaluation due to a student not taking a test pursuant to Subsection (9)(a).”

    SUCH GOOD NEWS for those of us in Nebo School District. I hope it also gets rid of that non-proficiency stuff.

  • Tammy says:

    On the opt-out form it gives a spot for a “School Official Signature, title, date”. Exactly what school official should sign this?

  • DanNette says:

    Here are some essay questions in the Uintah School District at the Middle School, 7th graders. “How do you feel about sleep learning”. “Would you chose to be a Patriots or Loyalist” “How do you feel about leadership”. Everyone needs to get their children out of the tests.

    • Jim Smith says:

      Dan, there is nothing wrong with the test prompts. Please tell me what is wrong. What I see are a bunch ob people that don’t want their kids to think. Why do you think they put the question about the patriot or loyalist? What a great way for the students to understand what it was like during the Revolutionary war and gain perspective. This is where narrow minds come from- not letting kids see the other side. Heaven forbid we have our students think about being a leader. What is going to happen next is parents want to opt out of work they have to do at their jobs because it is harder. Good luck!!

      • Jim Smith says:

        Rachel, I can tell you are not sure about a lot of the information that is being given to you if you have to ask about what students have to take the test. Don’t just go off what your neighbors are saying. Research, but you need to research both sides.

      • Oak Norton says:

        Jim, do you know the readings that went along with the patriot/communist essay question? I thought that was off limits? The way the student described it, the reading section had nothing to do with the question so the student asked the teacher for help and she said she couldn’t help and he just needed to write the essay. I’d be really curious to know what the reading was for it since it didn’t teach the student what communism was.

        • alean says:

          My 7th grader had the patriot/loyalist NOT communist question as you tried to switch it to. He said both sides were so well represented he had a hard time choosing which opinion. After he told me why he felt that way it made toal sense but to protect the fidelity of the question I won’t provide details. He also said the informational text was i teresting and kept his attention. He said this was a lot better than sitting and deciding if the answer was A B C or D, that it actually made him think.

          • Anonymous says:

            alean,

            Thanks for your post. I heard similar sentiments from some 7th graders and their parents I talked to recently. While confusing at times, the new tests are definitely more challenging according to students who took the test. While the tests need to be refined as we go forward, Florida seems to like Utah’s tests so much in their present form that they are willing to pay Utah upto $5.4 million just to rent them for a year.

      • DanNette Smuin says:

        The students did not know the difference between the two, so they guessed on their essay question. That’s the problem they need to be taught about the history of America. They need to be taught about their forefathers. The problem is we need to teach about our nations history, and why America is so great.

        • alean says:

          The students are given information to read and are then asked to take an opinion and write an opinion based on the texts that they read. Ipthey can go back and read and re read as much as they want. They aren’t expected to be scholars on the orompts, just to be able to formulate an opinion and then write a paper to support their opinion from the texts given to them.

  • Jim Smith says:

    Just from reading the posts on here, I can tell that the parents are against the schools. I bet that makes teachers and principals feel good about themselves. They are doing their jobs and there are many ignorant parents that have never read the core curriculum. How many parents don’t like the CCSS because they think it is tied to Obama? I bet many are. I am conservative but I see a lack of real understanding of what the CCSS are and what the testing is.

    • Oak Norton says:

      Jim, your comment here makes it evident you have no real idea what this is about. You told Rachel to study both sides. Please take your own advice and read what we say as opposed to just what the USOE says.

  • Jim Smith says:

    Oak, I know a whole lot more than you might think. I have looked at both sides. I have watched videos, read posts and articles. Just because Glenn beck says it is bad then we should all jump on the bandwagon as well, right? Your last comment tells me that you are a hypocrit. ” read what we have to say”. Tell me, have you read the core? Do you know what books kids have to read? This is a trick question. What are you afraid of? Your answer to what you are afraid about will tell me a lot about you. Believe me, there are so many rumors out there about the “communist” core that the people against it don’t know what is truth and what is false anymore. Also, you are making assumptions about the readings and you have no idea what it is about. Make sure you have it all in context before you say something is bad, and I will withhold comments until I have seen the reading passages and question. Oh, and I trust everything a teenager says.

    • Oak Norton says:

      Jim, I was writing about concerns with Common Core a couple years before Glenn Beck ever jumped on it. Our concerns are very limited when it comes to the standards. They are weak. They really only go through algebra 2 for math and Utah’s adoption pushes algebra 1 completion to 9th grade instead of 8th where it was. Most of our concerns are with data collection, local control of education, privacy issues, etc… Yes we have issues with the core (which I’ve read plenty of, no not every single line) but most of it is with other things like the nationalizing of education.

      • MPond says:

        Here here! Yes the standards are weak (the “dumbing down of America”), but the weak standards are a symptom of the larger problem: FEDERAL CONTROL. This is a power grab more than anything, and we don’t have to stand for it.

  • Jim Smith says:

    Data has been collected for how long? When you were in school data was collected by the state and Feds. No matter what you do, data will be collected. If we did not receive federal or state funds, many of the schools would not exist anymore. Please explain your idea about local control- I am curious as to how local you want it. I know there is a lot of fear being put on the internet. Some say the federal government is going to tell us what we have to do for a living based on our answers from the test. I guess that is the way fanatics get people on their side, show them that they should be afraid. Maybe you are in the middle somewhere, not sure.

    What experience have you had in the schools?

    • Oak Norton says:

      If you want the core of my philosophical beliefs, please read this post I put up today.

      On the money issue, Utah gets 12% of its education dollars from the feds which allows them to control almost everything we do. I am in favor of dropping that and increasing state revenue sources (particularly by taking back our lands the feds control inside our state).

      As for your fanatics comment, you do realize that President Obama said in his state of the union address a year ago that he wants a German style education system, right? Do you know what that looks like? Here’s one German’s story. It may not go to the extreme of telling us what to do for an occupation, but there is definitely the notion of deciding early based on data, what you’d be appropriate for and then channeling people in those directions regardless of what they may change to later.

  • Jolynn Wolfgramm says:

    I just talked to the Principle at our school in the Granite District and brought her an opt-out form. She took it, but wouldn’t sign it because she said the tests are only administered starting in 3rd grade. My son is in 1st grade, and so she said he is not taking any SAGE tests, etc. Is that true across the board?

  • Diane says:

    A friend of mine said that if you opt out kids get a 0 grade and it effects teacher’s pay next year when they go by merit. Do you know if this is true. I don’t want to see teachers get cheated out of pay but I don’t feel we should be forced to do common core.

    • Oak Norton says:

      SB 122 prevents anything from effecting teachers or schools. There isn’t a specific protection in the law for students yet, but I think that’ll happen next session if there are any retaliatory effects on children. They should not be labeled anything but as “opted out”.

      • asdteacher says:

        Thanks for clearing this up, Oak. What the teacher said had been true. Teachers’ and to a lesser account schools’ individual scores would have been impacted by opt out students (though not usually their pay), but as of April 7th, the Utah State Office of Education changed their policy. Here is a link to the document they just released to teachers (full text below): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6UCxxNLXXRWWEd2MXZkbURGS1JwZGdtSUxGTGRJanZZMXJv/edit?usp=sharing. It was just sent to me today, so not all teachers may have seen this yet. It would be great if you shared this as a separate post as it clears up several important points that have been argued and discussed on this site.

        Essentially what it says is that teachers and schools will not be penalized if students opt out. BUT if will affect school participation scores if students are absent from taking the test. In other words, the advice that some schools were giving for students to stay home on testing days was incorrect. The correct solution is to opt out.

        Point 4 below will be of some interest to parents as it does mention data being gathered by the federal government–a concern raised by many on this site. I wanted to clarify that a little. The data being referred to is the same data the government has had for years. Specifically, it the student’s demographic information and then a score between 1 and 4. This information travels with a student from year to year so that teachers can track progress. The breakdown as I use it is as follows:
        -1. This is the lowest score and indicates that a teacher needs to do something major to help the student out. Often this might include special education consideration, one-on-one tutoring, or pull-out classes.
        -2. This is still a failing score but closer to passing. These students might need extra in-class help such as selective seating or partnering.
        -3. This is a passing score, but not necessarily excelling. These students have passed before, but still require some support.
        -4. These students are excelling and have proven proficiency. These are students who may be considered for honors classes or as tutors and group leaders.
        These proficiency ratings are based on cut scores, not bell curves. At my school last year ~50-60% earned 4’s. As I teacher this information is highly useful, though I do not rely on it exclusively. If a student has a history of 4’s and then earns a 2 he/she was probably having a bad day or life issue. The issue was less likely to be skills based. I would determine to keep my eye on that student and look for ways to validate successes to keep him/her from falling into a failing cycle. A student with a history of 1’s or 2’s may be lacking fundamental reading or test taking skills. It could also be an external issue such as dyslexia or a lack of confidence. These scores act as flags to pre-notify me that there are possible issues so that I can make informed decisions. I have a niece who earned A’s all through school because her parents worked with her so hard, but her scores were 2’s and 3’s. My sister was frustrated that no one was helping her because they were only looking at grades rather than the state’s proficiency scores. Grades alone do not give teachers an accurate idea of student proficiency (though they can and should be better). That is why I find state testing so important.

        A short note on demographics: Some parents don’t like that we collect demographic information (race, gender, special education, etc…). But this information is equally important for teachers. I am a white male. As I look over my class proficiency scores, I can tell that I am very successful with white students, Latinos, Asian students, and most other groups. But I have had a significant drop with Latinas (Hispanic girls). Knowing that allows me to find new instructional techniques to reach out better to that demographic. Without testing, I would have no way of knowing that.

        Here is the complete text from the document:

        “There continues to be some confusion about students and/or parents opting-out of end-of level (SAGE and DWA) or other state-wide testing. Please be aware of the following as you have conversations with parents about opting-out of testing and in the development of opt-out forms.

        “1. Parents have the right to opt their children out of any testing required by or facilitated through the Utah State Board of Education. This includes all SAGE tests, Direct Writing Assessments, ACT (complete battery), ASAVB, NAEP, ACCESS testing for English Language Learners and UAA testing for Students with Disabilities.

        “2. When a student over 18 years old, or a parent or guardian opts-out of a state-level test, there is no requirement for an optional or alternative test to be given. For example, opting-out of a test taken on a computer does not necessitate that a “paper-pencil” test be offered as a replacement.

        “3. When a student over 18 years old, or parent or guardian opts-out of a state-level test, no academic penalty shall result for the student. If teachers/schools use any of these tests for grading/promotion decisions, some alternative assessment will need to be provided.

        “4. Opting-out of end-of-level testing, and participating in end-of-level testing, both result in de-identified and aggregated individual student data being reported to the federal government. The difference in the data shared on all public school students as required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is that the proficiency level for a student who opts out will not be reported while a tested student’s proficiency level will be reported as the proficiency level (1 – 4) determined by the testing.

        “5. Any student who is in school and not participating in testing should be engaged in a meaningful educational activity. Students not participating in any testing should not be singled out in any negative way nor should the student or the class be administratively punished in any way because a student opts out of testing. Items #6 and #7 address potential consequences for teachers and schools as a result of opting-out.

        “6. As per action taken by the Utah State Board of Education on April 4, 2014, a student who opts-out of testing will not receive a proficiency score, and for State purposes will not be counted against participation rates. However, these students will be reported as non-participants on federal reports and accountability and this may impact an LEA’s qualification for and the receiving of certain federal dollars.

        “7. As per current Utah State Office of Education Policy, a student who has not opted-out and is absent from school, and therefore does not participate in testing, is counted as a non-participant (both State and federal reporting) and may impact the school’s participation score which is included in the calculation for the school’s letter grade. An absent student is not included in calculating proficiency for a class, grade, or school.”

  • Loni Schneider says:

    I have my kids enrolled at 2 different charter schools. The administration of each of them verbally told me that they did not allow their students to opt out of the SAGE tests. Last month, Utah passed a law in which Gov Herbert specified that parents have the right to opt their kids out of these tests. I sent the opt out forms to the one principal anyway and he signed them. At the second school, I was at an information night for parents. A parent publicly asked the administration if she could opt her kids out of the SAGE tests at this school. He said no. I publicly announced the recent passing of this law and asked him the same question, again – don’t we legally have the right to opt them out if we choose to? All 3 administrators looked at each other and floundered. The one finally admitted that we did, but they wished that we wouldn’t because it adversely affected the school. He tried to reassure parents that the SAGE tests were not what we thought they were, there was nothing scary about them. Although he’d not seen the questions on the actual test, he had seen the practice tests and they’re perfectly harmless. I noted that that was because he wasn’t legally allowed to see the questions on the actual test and neither are the parents or the district or anyone else. That’s part of the problem. He ended the public conversation on the matter by asking to speak with me after the meeting, which he didn’t do.

  • Loni Schneider says:

    I enrolled my kids in charter schools this year because our public schools wouldn’t allow them to opt out of Common Core classes. The charter schools do. They can take on-line classes instead for full credit. We’re down to the wire, now and I’ve not found an acceptable solution. Can anyone help with suggestions? I need on-line math and English classes for 11th grade which are NOT Common Core. My kid will be taking these on-line classes at their school in the library. What are my options? Does anyone know? Thanks for your help!

  • Lori says:

    Our elementary school will only sign their own opt out form because it has their letter head on it. Is that good enough or do I insist on the form here?

    • Oak Norton says:

      While I believe you have every right to use your own form, if they insist on their form, I would sign theirs but hand write any changes on it that you see need to be made, such as ensuring your child is opted out of all computer adaptive tests during the year.

  • Lynnette Smith says:

    Nebo is giving me the run around about opting out. What can we do?
    I thank you for all you do. My husband and I have listened to you and agree 100%. We want to do more to help. So many people I know really do not know anything about common core and thing the schools know best. Some are not even willing to learn about it. I am sick thinking so many think all is well in Zion. Freedoms are being taken right and left and many do not seem to care. I would love to have you come down to the Spanish Fork area and and talk

    • Sabrina says:

      Lynette!! So sorry you haven’t been replied to. I’m positive that Oak is so busy in other important areas. He is quite a champion. If you don’t peruse and post on the Utahns Against Common Core on facebook, I suggest you do. There is a ton of support and information there. I’ve learned from others there who live in Nebo SD that they are being a mean spirited wolf baring their fangs at parents. I’m very pleased and root for those parents who are getting educated in this evil and fighting that big bad wolf, keeping him away from their precious children.

  • Erin says:

    The principal at my children’s high school said that Sage testing actually counts this year, therefore we can’t opt them out. Is that true?

    • Sabrina says:

      There have been comments letting us know that they do not account towards grades. That is a farce. I do know that it takes away from their funding not having tests taken. SAGE and this CC is all about money and data mining. Bottom line. Unfortunately I do not have it in front of me to give you that ammunition. I would suggest going to the group page on facebook Utahns Against Common Core and ask this question. You will get a wealth of information from very educated people. Also, there’s a candidate for some District representative who frequents that group and gives us great information. I will let you know at this time that my daughter is going to a school with a very caring Principal. He told me that the SAGE test has no bearing on grades at all because they don’t receive any information on them at all anyway until the next school year which makes them mute. Hang tough and exercise your parental rights to protect your children!! ;)

    • Sabrina says:

      D’oh… Sorry Erin!! Look on the Opt Out form itself. It has the ammunition you need!! :)
      But do join the fb group. You will find awesome support and supporting information.

  • Israel says:

    I just came back from my son’s Jr. High parent teacher conference. I approached the Principal and requested a SAGE and CAT opt-out form. She politely complied and gave me a form with the Granite School District letter-head. One side contains the “Notice of Parental Rights” and one of the bullet points explains my right as a parent to request in writing that my student be excused from taking statewide or NAEP tests.

    On the other-side of the page the following statement is found right under the signature line:

    “Thanks for your question regarding the “Opt-Out” process. Parents may opt-out of statewide assessments (SAGE Summative), National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and Trends in International Math and Science Skills Summative. Students can not opt-out of the benchmarks. I am attaching the notice of parent rights which confirms the information above and the op-out note which parents may use to guide their own request. We hope parents will consider the results of last year’s testing before they act.”

    Are quarterly benchmarks in fact different from the SAGE Summative tests at the end of the year?

  • Tara says:

    My daughter attends Reagan Academy in Springville & I have not heard of SAGE testing, they do MAP testing. Is it possible to use this form to opt out of those tests?

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In particular, AP Calculus is in conflict with the Common Core, Packer said, and it lies outside the sequence of the Common Core because of the fear that it may unnecessarily rush students into advanced math classes for which they are not prepared. — Trevor Packer, Senior VP College Board, http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=27296

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