SB 122 – All parents can opt out of SAGE tests

opt out of common core testsGovernor Herbert signed SB122 into law today. All Utah parents can now opt their children out of SAGE tests from any school without repercussion to your child, the teacher, or the school. De-stress your children and tell them to tell their friends they got opted out of the SAGE tests. Trust me, their friends will think it’s amazing and word will spread like wildfire.

The State Board of Education will be discussing the topic of what to do now at their board meeting this Friday. So if your child attends school in Nebo, Harmony, My Tech High, etc…, you can proceed opting them out of the SAGE tests immediately (although, because of the contract some of you signed that your children would take the SAGE test or pay the school back, you may have to take the test or pay the fee this year. Beg the school to change their policy based on the new law, if not immediately, at least for next year.).

Why would you want to opt out? Watch the video at this post to learn why.

Here are the relevant lines from SB 122.

http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/SB0122.html

“(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).”

We will come out with a new form but if you just copy/paste this onto a sheet of paper, it will suffice for now.

I am opting my child, ____________, out of all computer adaptive tests including practice tests, under Utah state law, SB 122, signed by Governor Herbert on April 2, 2014 which states:

“(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).”

30 thoughts on “SB 122 – All parents can opt out of SAGE tests”

  1. Oak, do you know if the new law changes anything about labeling kids nonproficient or not? The LEA and teachers aren’t penalized, but are the kids labeled nonproficient?

    By the way, we all owe you a tremendous thank you for all you did to awaken people sufficiently to get this law passed.

    1. Walt, thank you for making that point. Oak has worked very hard to keep us abreast of this insulting and destructive law, and he certainly deserves our thanks! Thank you Oak!

    2. I don’t know specifics about that aspect. The law specifically states that teachers and schools won’t be penalized.

      1. Thanks! I sent my appreciation email to Aaron Osmond!

        But, truly, we are grateful for all you are doing also, Oak!

  2. I heard that this law doesn’t take effect until summer, which would be after this year’s testing. Is this true?

  3. Helen, I believe it starts immediately. I received a letter from Nebo district saying that my kids could now opt out. I am however confused about the repercussions associated with opting out, because the verbiage on SB122 says there can be none, but the letter from the district states otherwise. A big thank you to Oak for hearing the concerns of us parents and helping to push this through! My kids were telling people they were opting out before they could be opted out because I would just pick them up during testing. They are thrilled about this-thank you.

      1. Here is what Nebo School District sent to me:
        March 31, 2014

        RE: State/National CAT/DATA Collection Opt-Out

        Dear Parent:

        We have received your request regarding your student, and your desire to exclude them from participating in computer adaptive testing (“CAT”) and opt them out of surveys that “contain” personal information. We thank you for being proactive in the education of your child. Like you, we recognize the interest and responsibility parents have in the welfare of their children.

        Recent direction on changes to Utah State Law and Code now allow Nebo School District, as a public educational institution, to accept your request to opt your student out of State/Federal/CAT assessments.

        Please be aware that by opting your student out of CAT and other assessments, the lack of student scores will impact the ability of our teachers to provide the most effective instruction and help your child make the desired academic progress toward content mastery. Your student may also receive a proficiency level of 1 (Not Proficient) according to the State of Utah.

        It is possible that the failure of students to participate in CAT may also negatively impact teacher evaluations and your school’s grade and participation status under the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System and in accordance with state law.

        As for your student being opted out of certain surveys or other data collection/transfer methods, Nebo School District follows state and federal laws governing student and family privacy rights, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. 1232g), the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) (20 U.S.C. 1232h), and Utah’s FERPA law, found at Utah Code Ann., Section 53A-13-301 and 302. We will continue to abide by these laws. This means that student information, which conforms to these statutes, is still required to be shared with the Utah State Office of Education via the UTREX data system. No individual student data is shared with the Federal Government via this system.

        As laws regarding assessment and data collection may continue to change and be re-defined, Nebo School District will continue to comply with those laws.

        Again we thank you for your interest in your child’s education.

  4. The effective date may be this summer but I read that Arne Duncan expects an 82 % failure on this first round so why subject the kids to this? My kids charter school will not be using the results as part of the grading anyways. My only concern has been that I don’t want my kid’s fine school penalized, they are one of the few hold outs to Common Core curriculum, so my kids are still learning something and not being confused with fuzzy math.

  5. This is great news. However, I fail to see any mention of the CHILD not being subjected to adverse and punitive academic santions for not taking the test, as outlined in SB 175. Both this site and my email are flooded with letters from parents who have been threatened by schools via this type of academic bribery.

    It’s wrong. It’s unconstitutional. When did I wake up and find out that I live in Russia?

    Fight this garbage people! Do not waiver and let your kids be experiential guinea pigs for “Big Testing” special interest groups. As I stated 8 months ago, the key to taking down Core is the test. If enough kids opt out, Common Core is dead in its tracks.

    1. It seems like if the schools and teachers aren’t going to be penalized, they won’t care all that much if a student opts out. Hopefully this law will get rid of pressure for children to take the test.

  6. Where do I find a copy of this bill to take to my school to show them that I’m not ruining their chance for future funding by opting out and encouraging others to do so?

    1. This is where the bill can be found online. You will need to paste it into your browser.

      http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/SB0122.html

      excerpt from it:

      “(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).”

  7. (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).”

    Doesn’t this say that the LEA won’t be impacted by school grading? Does this mean that the school can still be penalized, just not the School District?

    1. The district isn’t really impacted as much as the school was. Under the old scheme, schools were graded each year on an A-F scale and if less than 95% of the students took the SAGE test it was an automatic F for the school. With this bill the schools are freed up, and another bill that passed reduced the letter grade drop for less than 95% testing to be only one letter grade instead of an automatic F.

  8. I thought that the new law, like most new laws, doesn’t go into affect until July 1. Where does it state that it goes into affect immediately? From what I was told, until it is decided that the law goes into affect now, it would have a negative affect on teachers and schools this year. Do you have any information on this?

  9. I have a question that I am wondering about. Last night I went to the meeting that ASD is putting on for my children’s elementary school. The principal told us last night that teacher can go in and use SAGE and write their own test as of next yr. I asked if they were going to be just logging the students in as guests or with their ID. He said he would assume as a guest but didn’t know for sure based on the fact that it wouldn’t be available till next yr. But I wondered how that worked if we had opted our children out of SAGE testing, or if that is even considered SAGE Testing?

  10. I requested that my elementary-age child be opted out of the SAGE testing by copying the “I am opting out…” into an email to my teacher and the principal. The teacher replied back with:

    I have forwarded your request to our Assistant Principal who oversees our school testing. To clarify your request are you opting your child out of all of the testing or just the computerized test?

    I assume just the computerized test? Is there non-computerized testing that is part of the SAGE testing?

  11. I asked my vice principal today what we are supposed to do with students who opt out of testing. Do they have to be in a separate room from the testers, etc. She asked if any students had already indicated they wouldn’t take the test and I told her that I was just anticipating the possibility. She said that they would have to take an alternative test, but she was unclear about it and said she’d get back to me. I don’t see anything that mentions an alternative test.

  12. So does this apply to charter schools and programs like Harmony, also? Or do the previous things still apply (ie charter schools have to have more students take the test)

  13. My daughters school Bacchus Elementary allows her to opt out. But this is the issue. If the kids opt out they do not get certain privileges for taking the test. According to the principle the students get a ticket for showing up on time. And when they complete the test they get another ticket. These tickets can be used to purchase or exchange for certain things. From my stand point this sounds a bit like repercussion on my daughter for not taking the test. The Principle said she would pull my daughter into her office and discuss this with her alone.

  14. Someone from our yahoo group said that they got notice that Harmony Ed schools will let you opt out, too. It said you needed to contact the school you’re enrolled in.

  15. If you choose to opt out of the sage testing, How will this affect them from getting into the college they want? A few of the teachers are saying that this will be on there college records. It’s hard enough to get into college and to have this pressure makes it even worse. I have only seen information on elementary but not much on Jr. High and nothing on High School. That’s when everything counts for their future.

  16. I have opted my daughter out of the 2014-2015 Sage Tests but I do not see any where in the opt out form mention of Sage practice tests. Are the practice tests that students are taking in math, science and English for the annual Sage test also computer adaptive? My principal has supported me in my option to opt out but says that it is important that she take the practice tests so that her teachers have an indicator of her progress, etc. He says that information gleaned from the practice tests is not shared with the State or Federal govt? Can anyone clarify this for me?

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