This statement is in response to news that the School District of Philadelphia may begin disciplinary action toward teachers who had informed parents of their opt out rights around high stakes testing. The District move follows this City Paper article announcing that 17% of students at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences refused to take the PSSAs and other assessments. Support this effort by writing a short letter to the SRC (SRC@philasd.org) and tweeting to the School District of Philadelphia @PhillyEducation.
PHILADELPHIA – Parents United for Public Education expresses our unequivocal support for the rights of parents and families to opt out of high stakes standardized testing. We applaud the mass action of parents at schools across the city, including the parents and guardians of more than 90 students at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, to end a punishing testing culture in one of the most impoverished and deprived school districts in the state
We call upon District administrators to end disciplinary investigations into this matter and instead work with parents and families to seek a waiver from the state. In the meantime, we ask the District to fully inform parents of their opt-out rights and support parent requests to do so.
“Parents have the right to opt out – that is an indisputable right,” said Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United for Public Education. “The District has an opportunity to work with parents and teachers on an issue of common gain rather than once again being on the wrong side of the table.
Robin Roberts, parent of three children and a member of Parents United’s leadership team, has opted her children out of the PSSA again for the second consecutive year.
“High stakes testing is not helping anyone but the billion dollar testing industry,” Roberts said. “It’s time for parents to end this.”