Opt Out Bill Hearing Expected Today (UPDATE)

Sen. Sylvia Allen spoke truth to power today on behalf of Arizona’s parents, teachers, and students when she addressed the Arizona Senate Committee of the Whole on SB1455, her opt out bill.

“We don’t have education for the Chamber of Commerce, we don’t have it for businesses, we don’t have it for all the people who make money off of education,” stated Allen. “Education is for the benefit of children and parents who have the right to direct that education. Our Congress made the statement this year,” referring to the opt out provision in the ESSA.

In a firm voice, Allen then read from the Arizona Parents’ Bill of Rights. ARS 1-60 reads:

1-601. Parents’ rights protected
A. The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children is a fundamental right.
B. This state, any political subdivision of this state or any other governmental entity shall not infringe on these rights without demonstrating that the compelling governmental interest as applied to the child involved is of the highest order, is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means.

Allen then said she wanted to correct claims made by some that the federal government requires that 95 percent of Arizona school children must be tested. “I want to clarify, because we can determine how that 95 percent is assessed. That 95 percent should be 95 percent of the children eligible for testing. The children whose parents opt them out of testing are not eligible.”

“Sen. Sylvia Allen’s SB1455 reaffirms that parents, not the State, are the ultimate authority on health, safety, and educational matters concerning their children,” said Anita Christy, a concerned grand-parent who is dedicated to education issues. “Statewide assessments are among the most controversial and least effective methods of assessing a child’s educational progress. If parents across the country are opting their children out of statewide assessments, there’s a good reason. Several Red and Blue states have opt out provisions. Under ESSA, states and parents are allowed to opt students out of standardized testing.”

“Teachers are fully capable of differentiating instruction to meet the needs of each of their students. They are with their students several hours every day and know them well.” Christy concluded, “The tests that local teachers routinely give students are far more effective at determining a student’s progress than any statewide assessment.”

Supporters of parental rights, and opponents to high-stakes are encouraged to call or email your senators today and ask them to support SB1455:

NameDistrictPartyeMailPhone (602)
Sylvia Allen President Pro Tempore6Rsallen@azleg.gov926-5409
Nancy Barto15Rnbarto@azleg.gov926-5766
Carlyle Begay7Rcbegay@azleg.gov926-5862
Andy Biggs President12Rabiggs@azleg.gov926-4371
David Bradley10Ddbradley@azleg.gov926-5262
Judy Burges22Rjburges@azleg.gov926-5861
Olivia Cajero Bedford3Docajerobedford@azleg.gov926-5835
Lupe Contreras Minority Whip19Dlcontreras@azleg.gov926-5284
Andrea Dalessandro2Dadalessandro@azleg.gov926-5342
Jeff Dial18Rjdial@azleg.gov926-5550
Adam Driggs28Radriggs@azleg.gov926-4138
Steve Farley  Asst Minority Leader9Dsfarley@azleg.gov926-3022
David Farnsworth16Rdfarnsworth@azleg.gov926-3020
Gail Griffin Majority Whip14Rggriffin@azleg.gov926-5895
Katie Hobbs Minority Leader24Dkhobbs@azleg.gov926-5325
John Kavanagh23Rjkavanagh@azleg.gov926-5170
Debbie Lesko21Rdlesko@azleg.gov926-5413
Barbara McGuire8Dbmcguire@azleg.gov926-5836
Robert Meza30Drmeza@azleg.gov926-3425
Catherine Miranda27Dcmiranda@azleg.gov926-4893
Lynne Pancrazi4Dlpancrazi@azleg.gov926-3004
Steve Pierce1Rspierce@azleg.gov926-5584
Martin Quezada   Minority Leader29Dmquezada@azleg.gov 926-5911
Andrew C. Sherwood26Dasherwood@azleg.gov926-3028
Don Shooter13Rdshooter@azleg.gov926-4139
Steve Smith11Rstsmith@azleg.gov926-5685
Susan Donahue5Rsdonahue@azleg.gov926-4138
Bob Worsley25Rbworsley@azleg.gov926-5760
Steve Yarbrough Majority Leader17Rsyarbrough@azleg.gov926-5863
Kimberly Yee20Rkyee@azleg.gov926-3024
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  1. Getting this bill through the Legislative processes will be an uphill battle. Then, the Governor must sign it. It will take LOTS of phone calls, emails, FB posts, tweets, and fervent prayers to get through the land mines. Don’t underestimate the power each of you has to accomplish this very worthy task.

  2. Senator Allen was eloquent as she spoke. She also made reference to the Arizona Attorney Generals’ opinions. Recall that both Tom Horne and Mark Brnovich stated that parents do NOT have the right to Opt their children Out of AzMERIT (or any standardized test). She discarded their “opinions,” based on their pathetic interpretation of ARS 1-601. Also, both AG’s opinions began with the wrong premise: that the State’s purpose is to “educate children.” Senator Allen’s statement addressed the flaw in the AG’s opinion. She, along with many concerned parents, recognize that Education is no longer for the benefit and growth of individual students. Education now USES children to benefit financial and data interests, research opportunities, job requirements of corporations, school ratings, and the federal government. This is why the AG’s Opinions are irrelevant.

  3. Parents know what’s best for their kids.
    We have the ultimate responsibility for our kids.

    A decade and a half later after No Child Left Behind, “the bubble in standardized tests” have morphed into something I doubt anyone intended. We know where the road to good intentions leads.

    Parents are The Authority over their children. In AZ, we have been told our rights “end at the classroom door.” This is absurd!

    How can our AZ elected officials stand by and let this happen?

    As mentioned in the article, and many more in AZ Daily Ind…this issue for PARENTS to decide what is best for their children isn’t going away.

    I urge you to contact the Senators listed above to get their support for SB 1455 and Thank Senator Allen for understanding the proper role of gov’t in a child’s education.

    Many States have elected to put this right in statute to keep Parents from having to face confrontation with their school officials.

    Parents and Teachers together make the difference in improving learning for kids. No Parent or Teacher needs a standardized test to tell them if a child is learning.

    The flag will keep flying and the world will keep spinning if MY child doesn’t take a particular test.

    This is a simple right that “other” people made complicated.

    Testing has been used as a “crutch” or metric that doesn’t measure what the Ivory Tower Edu-groups claim. It’s the very engaged and involved Parents who know this by doing OUR homework.

  4. One of the many RIGHT’S and LIBERTIES that I mention in the previous article that were/are being taken away from parents, who rightly should be the ones that decide how their children should be schooled, taught, raise, disciplined and have their children’s personnel info protected from the ever intrusive and overreaching Authoritarian Government’s of our once great country……Go Trump.

  5. Make sure when contacting senators that you request approval of SB1455 with the Allen opt-out amendment.

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