Oregon students are still navigating the most difficult year of learning in modern history. Between losing loved ones to COVID-19, being forced out of classrooms, adapting to distance learning, and missing out on a year of regular social interactions—they have had their worlds turned upside down.
Standardized high-stakes testing should not come at the expense of precious learning time that students could be spending with their educators.
This spring, the majority of Oregon’s students will begin returning to in-person instruction for the first time in more than a year. This is an opportunity for schools to provide a place of care, connection, and stability. This is not the time to waste precious in-person instructional time on a stressful, ineffective standardized test.
OEA stands with the Oregon Department of Education, which has requested a waiver from the federal government to forego giving the state tests this year. However, there is much Oregon families can do to make sure in-person instructional time is focused on students’ physical, social, mental and emotional needs – not two-dimensional data from a multiple-choice test.
Federally mandated statewide assessments will not yield meaningful information about students’ social, emotional, physical, or mental health needs. Oregon’s waiver request raises this very issue and seeks to address the shortcomings associated with misapplying assessment data by proposing solutions that will provide better information for equitably targeting resources and letting parents know how their students are doing academically.
First, families can exercise their right in Oregon to opt students out of the state tests. Families can access the Oregon opt out forms here. Submit these forms to your school principal, school counselor, classroom teacher, and/or school testing coordinator. There is no deadline and families can do this at any time.
- English opt out form
- Spanish opt out form
- More languages available upon request. Email OEA's Center for Great Public Schools for support.
Second, families and educators can join OEA and the NEA in a national call to cancel the tests in Oregon and the rest of the nation. Learn more and sign the letter here.
FAMILY OPT OUT RIGHTS
Oregon families have the right to opt students out of taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in math and English language arts.
Families can access the current information about opt out from the Oregon Department of Education. Additionally, OEA has developed materials to help local communities organize around assessment.
Download our Assessment Organizing Toolkit:
EDUCATOR OPT OUT RIGHTS
- Educators (teachers and other staff) have a free speech right to share their opinions about assessment and opt out as individuals during NON-WORK hours.
- Educators can direct students and families to online resources or provide factual information about the law during work hours if asked to do so.
- School districts can determine educator speech during work hours to be disruptive to district policy or educational processes.
The 2019-20 combined 30-day notice and opt-out form for the statewide English language arts and Mathematics assessments is now available on the ODE website. School districts and public charter schools must use this 30-day notice and opt-out form provided by ODE to communicate with all parents about state testing requirements and their right to opt-out by December 6, 2019. Access the form here (click to expand the 'Forms' section).
If you suspect a school or district leader is actively impeding a family's right to opt out of standardized testing, please report this to OEA. Your union is dedicated to continuing to advocate for the rights of all Oregon families.
OEA can provide speakers to share factual information about Oregon's state testing opt out laws to your colleagues, families, or other groups who would benefit from the information. Please complete the form to request a speaker.
If you're an OEA member, you can access OEA's Opt Out Speakers' Bureau materials through NEA360 EdCommunities, in our Quality Assessment Practices: OEA group.