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The Rhode Island NEA endorsed a resolution supporting the right of students to opt out of state testing and the right of teachers to discuss opting out with parents.
The resolution read, in part,
“There is an over-abundance of these tests in Rhode Island public schools. The Rhode Island Department of Education, through individual school districts, must provide all parents with yearly, written information fully explaining their right to opt out of these assessments. Students who opt out of high-stakes assessments, such as PARCC, will not be included in data used by state or federal entities in grading or ranking schools or districts, or for any other punitive measures. No parent or student should be penalized based on a parental decision to remove a student from standardized assessments.”
The resolution also said:
“Open dialogue is essential in the parent and educator relationship; as a result, no educator should be disciplined in any school or district for discussing – with students, parents, or community members – options available to parents for opting students out of PARCC or other high-stakes standardized assessment. These include individual conversations, parent/teacher conferences, community meetings, or any other social or professional conversations. Testing, and the frequency of testing, is a working condition, governed by collective bargaining, and educators have the right to speak openly and freely about those conditions.”
In a separate resolution, the NEA R.I. also recommended that, due to weather interruptions in the continuity of instruction, all further PARCC testing be suspended for this school year and the time be used for such instruction. It is clearly a much better use of student time if learning is not disrupted for testing. From this point forward, the validity of any testing should be questioned.”