House Bill 50 – “Opt Out”

House Bill 50 - "Opt Out"

Commonly called the “Opt Out” of testing bill, this legislation is intended — according to the sponsor — to give parents the right to opt their child out of standardized testing.

However, paragraphs 2 and 4 are infringements on parental and privacy rights. And the passing of such legislation would be problematic for parents in the future, as their rights in testing will then be at the whims of future politicians to tamper with. As it stands today, parents can opt their child out of any school function or activity without permission from the school district or state.

Paragraph 2 reads:

(2) The parent or guardian must notify the student’s school in writing at least 2 school days prior to the scheduled exam. Schools shall honor any timely request and provide alternative educational activities during testing times.

A parent has the right to pull their child out of any exam at any time, even while the child is taking it. The 2 school day notification requirement is a violation of parental rights.

Paragraph 4 reads:

(4) The Department shall maintain a data system to track the student’s opt-out decisions.

There is no valid reason to be collecting out-out decisions specific to each individual student. The school districts currently track general data regarding participation, but this paragraph goes beyond that, tracking every parent and student’s decisions and keeping them on file. This is a violation of privacy rights, as no government has the right to track your decisions and maintain records if you have not committed a crime.

Finally, it was concerning to find dangerous wording in the Synopsis of the bill, which is not part of the bill and would in no way be permanent or enforceable, but was alarming nonetheless and may provide insight into the mind of the writer, which is rarely the sponsor. It reads:

This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

This wording, “creates the right,” is dangerous to see in a free country. It falsely presumes that such a right did not already exist, inherent upon our being, which up to this point in history was widely understood, that all rights to decide what children will and will not do belong to their parents and such rights do not come from any government.