Rep. Mike Stewart and his wife Ruth decided to opt their child out of state testing. The MommaBears of Tennessee were overjoyed. Tennessee has no law permitting opt out. The MammaBears hope that the Stewart’s decision will make the voices of other parents heard by state officials.

 

 

This is the letter that Ruth Stewart sent to the school and made public:

 

 

Please accept this letter as a record of my decision to refuse for (name redacted for privacy) to participate in TN Ready/TnReady TCAP test and pretests at (school name redacted for privacy) for the remaining school year. My refusal to allow (child’s name) to participate is because I believe standardized high stakes testing take away time from the instructional experiences my child might otherwise receive. I want more teaching and learning, and less testing! I am aware that there is no “opt out” clause in the state of Tennessee. But the state has yet to provide any legal documentation that my child may not exercise his or her right to refuse the tests.

 

I understand that it is state and local policy to require all students to are to be evaluated for proficiency in various subject areas at each grade level. However, I believe that testing is not synonymous with standardized testing and request that the school and my child’s teacher(s) evaluate her progress using alternative measures including project-based assignments, teacher-made tests, portfolios, and performance-based assessments.

 

(Child’s name) is prepared to come to school every day during the testing window with alternative meaningful, self-directed learning activities that support the essential curriculum, or is willing to participate in other meaningful activities as determined by the school or her teachers during testing times. Please let me know beforehand what I can expect as far as instructional experiences (child’s name) will experience during testing windows. I am happy to develop material for her if the teachers believe this is appropriate. I have a tremendous respect for (child’s name)’s teachers and her school. My issue is with frequent high-stakes standardized testing and the harm it does to children, teachers, and our public schools.

 

 

Respectfully yours,
Ruth Stewart