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:

Name District Party eMail Phone (602)
Sylvia Allen President Pro Tempore 6 R sallen@azleg.gov 926-5409
Nancy Barto 15 R nbarto@azleg.gov 926-5766
Carlyle Begay 7 R cbegay@azleg.gov 926-5862
Andy Biggs President 12 R abiggs@azleg.gov 926-4371
David Bradley 10 D dbradley@azleg.gov 926-5262
Judy Burges 22 R jburges@azleg.gov 926-5861
Olivia Cajero Bedford 3 D ocajerobedford@azleg.gov 926-5835
Lupe Contreras Minority Whip 19 D lcontreras@azleg.gov 926-5284
Andrea Dalessandro 2 D adalessandro@azleg.gov 926-5342
Jeff Dial 18 R jdial@azleg.gov 926-5550
Adam Driggs 28 R adriggs@azleg.gov 926-4138
Steve Farley  Asst Minority Leader 9 D sfarley@azleg.gov 926-3022
David Farnsworth 16 R dfarnsworth@azleg.gov 926-3020
Gail Griffin Majority Whip 14 R ggriffin@azleg.gov 926-5895
Katie Hobbs Minority Leader 24 D khobbs@azleg.gov 926-5325
John Kavanagh 23 R jkavanagh@azleg.gov 926-5170
Debbie Lesko 21 R dlesko@azleg.gov 926-5413
Barbara McGuire 8 D bmcguire@azleg.gov 926-5836
Robert Meza 30 D rmeza@azleg.gov 926-3425
Catherine Miranda 27 D cmiranda@azleg.gov 926-4893
Lynne Pancrazi 4 D lpancrazi@azleg.gov 926-3004
Steve Pierce 1 R spierce@azleg.gov 926-5584
Martin Quezada   Minority Leader 29 D mquezada@azleg.gov  926-5911
Andrew C. Sherwood 26 D asherwood@azleg.gov 926-3028
Don Shooter 13 R dshooter@azleg.gov 926-4139
Steve Smith 11 R stsmith@azleg.gov 926-5685
Susan Donahue 5 R sdonahue@azleg.gov 926-4138
Bob Worsley 25 R bworsley@azleg.gov 926-5760
Steve Yarbrough Majority Leader 17 R syarbrough@azleg.gov 926-5863
Kimberly Yee 20 R kyee@azleg.gov 926-3024
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