Marion County School Board Advances Resolution Affirming Parental Rights on Testing

November, 2014

The Marion County School Board advanced a resolution on November 19th by a 3-2 vote asking for legislation to allow parents to opt their children out of mandated testing without penalty.  According to the Ocala Star Banner article, Chairwoman Angie Boynton, Nancy Stacy, and Kelli King voted for the resolution, while Bobby James and board vice-chairwoman Carol Ely voted against it.

Here are some of the issues brought up in the resolution as described in the article:

Provide a three-year transition to develop a viable accountability system. Delay using the results of the new test in determining school grades, student promotion, retention and graduation -- as well as using the results to determine teacher pay -- until July 1, 2017. Until then, districts would be given flexibility to set their own criteria for these decisions. However, the state should continue to provide appropriate assessments for students to meet graduation requirements. The tests should be for diagnostic purposes for creating baseline scores until 2017-18.

It asked the state to immediately provide a process for public school parents and students to be excused without penalty from participation in the statewide required assessments. It further asks the state to adopt an opt-out policy that would "allow parents to have their students excused, without penalty, from these required tests."

The Marion County Board is the first school board in Florida to our knowledge to understand and affirm the primary position of parents in the education and upbringing of their children by putting the opt out in parents' hands.  They, especially Boynton, King and Stacy deserve great thanks and congratulations on this.  Let us hope that other school boards follow suit.

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