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Testing opt-out/Refusal guide for Pennsylvania
Form completed by Alison McDowell
Special thanks to Yinzercation for their amazing website which served as the source for much of
the information in this guide: https:// yinzercation.wordpress.com/
Contact information (email): Alison McDowell at alison.mcdowell@gmail.com or UOO admin
Morna McDermott at unitedoptoutnational@gmail.com
List of assessments
Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) includes assessments in English Language
Arts and Mathematics that are taken by students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Students in grades 4
and 8 are also administered the Science PSSA. The English Language Arts and Mathematics
PSSAs include items that are consistent with the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to
the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The
Science PSSA includes items that are aligned to the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content
aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science, Technology, Environment and
Ecology.
Keystone Exams are end–of-course assessments in designated content areas. The Keystone
Exams serve two purposes: (1) high school accountability assessments for federal and state
purposes, and (2) high school graduation requirements for students beginning with the class of
2017. The Algebra I and Literature Keystone Exams include items written to the Assessment
Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in Mathematics
and English Language Arts. The Biology Keystone Exam includes items written to the
Assessment Anchor/Eligible Content aligned to the enhanced Pennsylvania Academic Standards
for Science.
The Pennsylvania Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) is a set of online assessments, divided by
content area, designed to provide diagnostic information in order to guide instruction and
remediation. The CDT reporting system is fully integrated in the Standards Aligned System
(SAS). It assists educators in identifying student academic strengths, and areas in need of
improvement, by providing links to classroom resources. The diagnostic reports feature easy-tofollow links to targeted curricular resources and materials, including units and lesson plans found
within the SAS system. The CDT is available to districts at no cost.
Additional standardized diagnostic tests used in Pennsylvania that are given in some, but not all
districts, include: MAP (Measures of Academic Progress), DRA (Developmental Reading
Assessment), DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), GRADE (Group
Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation), STAR, 4Site Benchmarks, SRI (Scholastic
Reading Inventory), Gates-MacGinitie Reading Assessment, and Study Island Pretests.
Special considerations for the above assessments

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Starting with the class of 2017, a score of proficient or advanced on all three Keystone exams
will be required for a Pennsylvania student enrolled in public school to graduate. Chapter 4 of
the school code will allow for an opt-out, but instead require a project-based high stakes test
rather than your usual test, and courses teaching specifically to the test may also be required.
PSSA tests administered in the spring of 2015 will be aligned with the new PA Core Standards.
Steps for refusing standardized testing (other than Keystones).
How to Opt Out of the PSSA’s
STEP 1: Parent write letter/email to the superintendent or principal their intent to opt out.
Dear Superintendent:
Pursuant to Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(5) I am hereby exercising my
right as a parent to have my child, [ NAME ], excused from PSSA testing because of religious
and philosophical beliefs.
Sincerely,
STEP 2: Parent reviews test at school
Two weeks prior to the testing window, exams must be made available for review by parents and
guardians. Districts must provide a convenient time for the review. Parents and guardians will
need sign the Parent Confidentiality Agreement that simply states they will not share what is on
the test with anyone.
STEP 3: Parent provides written request for their child to be excused from test to the
superintendent or principal stating that that you reviewed the exam. This letter can be submitted
at the time of the review or mailed soon after.
Dear Superintendent:
On [DATE] I had the opportunity to review the PSSA test and pursuant to Pennsylvania Code
Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(5) I am hereby exercising my right as a parent to have my
child, [NAME], excused from PSSA testing because of religious and philosophical beliefs.
Sincerely,
STEP 4: Superintendent reviews the request - this request cannot be denied.
If the student is excused from the state assessment due to parental or guardian request, school
personnel must provide an alternative learning environment for the student during the assessment
and complete the “Non-Assessed Students” grid by selecting “Student had a parental request for
exclusion from the assessment.”
Parents can opt their children out of the PSSA’s at any time during the school year, and within 2
weeks prior to test date. One benefit to opting out in the beginning of the school year is that
parents can also opt their children out of Study Island and CDT’s, which are PSSA test prep. To
do this, email or write a letter to school principal and/or teachers.
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Keystone exams may be opted out of in the same manner as the PSSA’s (see above). Currently,
there is a project-based assessment (PBA) required if a student is opted out of the Keystone exam
and as of 11/2014 the PBA mandate is being challenged on two points. The first point is that if a
parent uses the religious opt out for the Keystone exam then that opt out should carry over to the
PBA as the content is the same, so the same reason for opt out of the Keystone should apply to
the PBA. The second is that in Pennsylvania, parents have the right to review instruction (see
below) and currently the PBA is not available for parental review which is in conflict with PA
School Code Chapter 4.4.
PA School Code Chapter 4.4(d)(1)(2)(3):
(d) School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:
(1) Access to information about the curriculum, including academic standards to be achieved,
instructional materials and assessment techniques.
(2) A process for the review of instructional materials.
There is legislation that will be introduced in 2015 to remove the graduation requirement from
the Keystone exams which if passes would eliminate the PBA mandate.
In Pennsylvania there is no legal right to “opt out” of standardized testing. If you ask to “opt out”
district officials may tell you that you cannot. Instead, you must “refuse” the tests. That refusal
must be based on your religious beliefs as required by state law. You do not ask, you simply
“refuse.” That is your right as a parent.
Be aware that in some districts standardized tests scores may be used for admissions to programs
or magnet schools. In Philadelphia, for example, third grade scores are used to determine
admission to magnet middle schools and seventh grade scores are used to determine admission to
selective admission high schools. I recommend familiarizing yourself with your district’s policies
regarding school/program admission before you decide to refuse testing in a given grade. Some
grades are easier to refuse in than others. Ultimately you need to made a decision that best fits
the particular needs of your child and your family.
Sample Phrasing:
“We are writing today to formally inform the district of our decision to refuse to allow our child
to participate in state standardized assessments for the [201X-201X] school year. Pursuant to
Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(5) I am hereby exercising my right as a
parent to have my child, [ NAME ], excused from PSSA testing because of my religious and
philosophical beliefs.”
You may elaborate on specific concerns you have regarding the misuse of high-stakes
standardized tests, but it is not necessary. Sample letters are provided at the end of this
document.
During Testing:
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Students can attend school on testing days. The state and district cannot refuse to admit a nontest-taking student. Children may be required to be outside the classroom in a library or other
space and engage in quiet activities. In some cases parents pick their child up during the testing
window and bring them back later in the day after testing is complete.
Important:
It is illegal for officials to ask for information about the nature of your religious beliefs or faith.
They cannot ask for “proof” of your beliefs (e.g. a letter from your minister, rabbi, or imam).
They cannot threaten you or your child for exercising this right, nor can they impose punitive
measures on your child for your decision to refuse the test.
Refusing Keystone Exams
Keystone exams are not a graduation requirement for the class of 2015 or 2016. Some parents in
Pennsylvania have successfully refused these exams for some students in those grades. Passing
all three Keystone exams does, however, become a requirement starting with the Class of 2017.
In many cases students are placed in remedial classes after receiving a failing score on the
Keystone exam, although how students are “remediated” is not codified by the state, and each
school district is left to its own devices on how that should be done. There are parents with
receptive school administrators who have removed their children from remedial classes upon
request.
A student (other than a member of the classes of 2015 or 2016) whose parent refuses the
Keystone exam is required to complete a Project Based Assessment or PBA. Students who take
the Keystone exam twice, but do not pass either time are also required to take the PBA. The
Project Based Assessment is not an actual project, but a module-based, online computerized
assessment that the student must complete. Each Keystone consists of two modules. Proficient
students are said to need 6-7 hours per module to complete. Given that most students taking the
PBA have failed the Keystone with a rating below proficient, it is likely that the PBA will take
them longer than 14 hours to complete. The PBA should not be considered an “easier” alternative
to the Keystone.
One Pennsylvania parent is working to challenge the legality of requiring successful completion
of a PBA as a graduation requirement. The argument is that that the PBA is either “instruction”
and that according to PA School Code Chapter 4.4(d)(1)(2)(3) parents are entitled to “a process
for the review of instructional materials and the right to have their children excused from specific
instruction that conflicts with their religious beliefs, upon receipt by the school entity of a written
request from the parent or guardians.”
Or, if it is not “instruction,” it is an “assessment,” and as noted parents have the right to refuse
assessments that conflict with their religious beliefs. As of now, the state has refused to make the
PBA available for review by parents, which is in conflict with parental rights outlined in section
4.4 of the PA Code. More information is available here:
http://optoutpa.blogspot.com/2014/08/opt-out-of-project-based-assessment.html
PA State Senator Andrew Dinniman has been working to introduce legislation that would remove
the Keystones as a graduation requirement. He has thus far been unsuccessful. There are plans to
reintroduce legislation in the winter/spring of 2015. If you are interested in working to support
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these efforts, contact Alison McDowell at optoutphilly@gmail.com. The statewide average
passing rates for the 2014 Keystone scores are as follows: 40% algebra, 42% biology, and 53%
English. 20% or fewer passed on their second try. If we don’t overturn this legislatively or in the
courts, within two years roughly half of the Pennsylvania’s seniors will not be allowed to
graduate even if they have met all other requirements of their district.
Dinninman’s FAQ on why he opposes the Keystones can be found here:
http://www.senatordinniman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/8ReasonsAgainstKeystones.pdf
The Radnor League of Women voters held a forum on Keystone exams this fall. It is a two-hour
video, but contains a wealth of information about the impact of these exams on schools and high
school students in our state. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDwHMi81aO0
Urgency for opt-out/refusal
High Stakes Testing—

Is not scientifically-based and fails to follow the U.S. Government's own data on
learning.

Fosters test driven education that is not meeting the individual/intellectual needs of
students.

Presents a racial and economic bias that is beneficial to white middle/upper class students
and detrimental to second language students, impoverished students, and students of
color.

Is in opposition to the corrective action in gaps in opportunity and resources sanctioned
by the Fiscal Fairness Act.

Supports complicity of corporate interests rather than democracy based on public
concerns.

Fosters coercion over cooperation with regards to federal funding for public education.

Promotes a culture of lying, cheating, and exploitation within the school community.

Has used the achievement gap to foster a “de facto” segregation that has resulted in
separate and unequal education for minorities.

Additionally, data collection of student's private information cannot be guaranteed
security or that it will not be abused in some way by third party entities.

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Low/poor test scores, which are likely to occur with more frequency with Common Core and
PARCC will be used to fire teachers, create more online learning scenarios even in elementary
schools, and close more public schools to be replaced with for profit charter schools.
Current PA Standardized Testing Contracts
The Capitol Wire August 22, 2014 shared the following information regarding a new 5-year
contract issued for standardized testing (PSSAs and Keystones) by the state:
“But the big contract award announced during the last week was the $210 million, five-year
(with three optional one-year renewals) deal with Measured Progress, Inc. to develop, provide,
distribute, collect, analyze and report results of tests that support instruction and accountability
for the state Department of Education's Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA),
Keystone Exams, End of Course (EOC), Classroom Diagnostic Tool (CDT) and other optional
assessments.
This new contract also combines two existing contracts (with Data Recognition Corp. ) - for the
PSSA (contract expiration December 31, 2014) and the Keystone Exams/CDT (expiration date
of June 30, 2015) - into one contract.
Said Education Department spokesman Tim Eller of the new contract: "Pennsylvania does not
administer the national Common Core tests, it administers the Pennsylvania System of School
Assessment to public school students in grades 3-8 and the Keystone Exams (end-of-course
exams) to public school students who complete courses in Algebra I, Biology and Literature.
This is a new contract with a new vendor who will work with the department to administer the
PSSAs and Keystone Exams to public school students across the state. These exams provide
students, parents, educators and taxpayers with information on how students in our public
schools are academically performing."
CTB McGraw-Hill; Pearson; Data Recognition Corp. and Measurement Inc. all submitted bids
for the contract, although Measurement, Inc. did not meet the pre-established threshold to be
considered for the contract.
As part of its successful proposal, Measured Progress, Inc. has committed to subcontracting with
seven small diverse businesses during the course of the contract, with the subcontracting
commitments totaling nearly $40.9 million (contingent upon purchase and service volume during
the initial five years of the deal): Access Personnel Services, Inc.; Brenneman Printing; Fluency,
Inc.; eMetric, LLC; Language Services Consultant, Inc.; Rangam Consultants, Inc. and TechniForms, Inc. of Doylestown, Bucks County.”
Three Sample Opt Out Letters
Letter One
Dear ________,
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After consulting with attorneys at the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaking with the Director
of the Bureau of Assessment and Accountability at the Pennsylvania Department of Education in
Harrisburg, and much soul searching, I am informing you that my children will not be
participating in this years PSSA testing. Additionally, I am informing you that I have been
actively encouraging other parents to arrange religious exemptions for their children. Again, I
have spoken with education attorneys at the SPLC as well as Mary Bauer, the SPLC Legal
Director. What I am doing is perfectly legal.
On Monday last, as per PA Code Title 22 Chapter 4, Section 4 (d)(5), I inspected the testing
materials shipped from Data Recognition Corp, a Minnesota private company to which the state
pays $30 million annually to have these tests printed and then scored. These tests are scored by
armies of temporary workers with no training in education. If you do nothing else, please read
this article: http://www.citypages.com/.... I also highly recommend the book, Making the Grades,
by Todd Farley. Anyone involved in education and in the administration of these tests should be
informed about the fraud being perpetrated on the American school system and the American
taxpayers by the private testing industry.
I have signed the confidentiality agreement and informed the principal of my decision.
I refuse to have my children take part in the testing because it is in conflict with my religious
beliefs. The PDE advised me that even a medical or psychological concern meets this criteria, as
long as I claim it’s religious. However, in this case my Catholic faith teach me that it is a sin to
participate in an action I know to be a fraud and to be harmful to my children and to my
community. Ten years of research and analysis by academic experts working at universities from
Penn State to Harvard (as opposed to politicians like Michelle Rhee or college drop-outs like Bill
Gates) conclusively prove that high stakes like the PSSA testing harms children, undermines and
restricts curriculums, and punishes schools that serve the most vulnerable members of our
society — kids with special needs and kids in poverty. There are mountains of documentation
out there. For a beginning reading list, I suggest you contact Dr. Timothy Slekar, Head of the
Division of Education and Human Development at Penn State Altoona.
Under the law, you cannot deny my request. I am opting them out of testing even though I know
that this action will result in the school failing to meet AYP for the second year. I believe in
public education. For years we have all known that NCLB is a bad law. In 2014, every school in
the country must be at 100% proficiency. You and I both know that is not going to happen. We all
keep hoping that the law will be changed even though it is long overdue for reauthorization, yet
given the partisan grid-lock in Washington right now, thinking that it will get fixed any time soon
is a fantasy. My faith tells me that the only way to do the right thing for my children, their
school, children with disabilities and/or living in poverty, and the future of public education in
this state is to call for a boycott of the testing, hoping against hope, that if enough parents join in,
like the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1965, our voices will finally be heard.
I understand that you and others in the administration here really have your hands tied on this
issue. Under the law you must get 95% of kids tested. But it’s wrong, sir. It is all based on lies
and deceit and greed and corruption. My faith demands that we must fight against this. As an
undergraduate at Santa Clara University in California I saw members of our university
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community including priests, going down to help the people in El Salvador, even after six priests
were assassinated by right wing death squads. That’s my religious and educational tradition.
I know that everyone is terrified of a school failing to make AYP. But to continue to participate in
this corrupt farce is to undermine the very core of public education. Those pushing for everincreasing testing and “accountability” have made their agenda crystal clear: school closings,
vouchers and eventually privatization, turning over education to for-profit companies. Private
schools run by the Catholic Church and the Friends Council on Education are not for profit; they
do not participate in this testing; their students receive a great education. For-profit schools run
by large Educational Management Organizations (EMOs) have a dismal record, but that is the
next step as more and more schools fail to meet AYP as we approach 2014. Eventually all
schools will be closed down, reorganized and ultimately turned over to private for-profit EMOs.
We are told that private for-profit companies can do a better job than you and others who are
committed to public education because of the free market. The free market resulted in scandals
ranging from Halliburton and Blackwater in Iraq, to the Enron debacle, to the recent outrage in
our own backyard with private for-profit prisons for kids. When our tax dollars are involved,
greed and corruption run rampant in the “free market.”
Please think about your role in this and if there is anything you can do to take a stand against the
Big Lie that is NCLB and high-stakes standardized testing which threatens the future of the kids
you serve.
Letter Two
Dear (Insert Administrator's name here)
We are asking that you allow our son to "opt out" of NCLB and PSSA testing. There are many
reasons that our family has decided to "opt out" of state and federally mandated testing, however,
we have been told that there is only one legal exemption -- religion. Since religion is the only
recognized legal excuse (that we could find) we will use it. Therefore, we are asking for a
religious exemption.
We are Unitarian Universalists with values rooted in the teaching of Jesus. Forced participation
in state testing violates the following religious principles we value and strive to teach in our
home.
"Unitarian Universalists believe in the never-ending search for truth. If the mind and heart are
truly free and open, the revelations that appear to the human spirit are infinitely numerous,
eternally fruitful, and wondrously exciting." NCLB and PSSAs are antithetical to this belief.
These tests assume a static truth and train the mind and heart to close to the possibilities of
multiple answers or interpretations. They force children to believe in a single correct answer and
that there is no need to search for knowledge -- knowledge is given. This contradicts the value
we are trying to teach our son concerning curiosity and the endless possibilities available to him
as he searches for his own truth.
As followers of the teachings of Jesus, Luke reminds us that Jesus said, "Do not judge, or you
too will be judged" also "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the
measure you use, it will be measured to you. And finally, "Do not judge, and you will not be
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judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. NCLB and PSSAs are designed
exclusively to judge and condemn children, teachers, schools, and communities. We refuse to
continue to take part in this pernicious system. We are also trying to teach our son to be open to
the possibilities that "others" sometimes have different values or ways of seeing the world. We
do not want him to judge others for their differences. We hope that one day our son will
recognize differences in others and value and celebrate those differences. NCLB and PSSAs
force children, teachers, and schools to devalue differences.
We also believe in the Ethic of Reciprocity or the Golden Rule -- we are to treat other people as
we would wish to be treated ourselves. As a family, our belief in the Golden Rule encourages us
to help our son learn the value of fairness. We want him to treat others fairly and we hope that he
will in turn expect others to treat him fairly. NCLB and PSSAs have been demonstrated to not
treat differences in children fairly. They fail to recognize the multiple intelligences present in all
children. NCLB and PSSAs discriminate against students from lower socio-economic conditions
and unfairly penalize students with special education needs.
Even though the United Nations is not a religious organization we also would like the school to
understand that NCLB and PSSAs violate certain articles of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights
Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought. NCLB and PSSAs prescribes
thoughtlessness and punishes children that experiment with their curiosity or try to explain their
learning in ways that can't be measured by standardized tests.
Article 26. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to
the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote
understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups.
NCLB and PSSAs narrow the school's curriculum and therefore deprives children of the right
explore the possibilities for learning in the many disciplines that have either been shortened or
outright eliminated from the curriculum. For example, if science and social studies are neglected
how will children learn about the scientific nature of the world and learn to appreciate and value
the vast cultures on this planet?
In summary and respect, we would like you to permit our son to "opt out" of NCLB and PSSA
testing this school year for the religious and cultural reasons stated above.
Sincerely,
(Insert your name here).
From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
Letter 3
Dear (school principal),

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We, the parents of (child’s name), an (?) grade student enrolled at (school name), are writing to
state that standardized testing is against our religious and philosophical beliefs. We will be
refusing all standardized testing for (child’s name) during the upcoming school year.
Our refusal includes, but is not limited to, the English, math, science, and writing PSSAs;
benchmark testing; CDT (Classroom Diagnostic Tools) testing; any tests associated with PVAAS
teacher evaluations; NAEP testing; as well as field testing of standardized test items.
We realize that we may be required to come in and review the testing materials and reconfirm
our decision to refuse the tests. In that event, we request that you contact us at least two weeks
prior to their scheduled administration so that we may set a time to do the review and complete
that process. We can be reached at the phone number and emails provided above. During times
in which standardized tests are being administered or standardized test preparation exercises are
taking place, please allow (child’s name) to pursue alternate educational activities such as
independent reading, a research project, or volunteering in the library.
I hope you understand that it is not our intent to harm (school name) or its staff. We hold the
school and its teachers in high regard, and for that reason we are taking a stand against damaging
policies that use high-stakes test scores for purposes for which they were never intended. Such
purposes include: rating teachers, closing or turning schools over to private management, and
withholding diplomas from students who have otherwise earned them. High-stakes standardized
tests also pose significant problems for students not fluent in English and those with
individualized education plans.
We believe in a broad curriculum that supports the individual needs of children and helps them
develop their talents to become critical thinkers and contributors to a more just and democratic
society. It is incomprehensible to us that during times of such austerity, when schools cannot
even afford current textbooks, Philadelphia’s students are being ranked and sorted against
children in affluent districts who have every advantage. It is a broken and corrupt system, and
our conscience will not permit us to have our child be a part of it any longer.
Please let us know if we need to be in touch with her teachers individually, or if that is something
you will do in your capacity as principal. We would appreciate it if you could provide a written
confirmation that you have received this letter. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
Parent Names
Resources and organizations
Yinzercation. Their website http://yinzercation.wordpress.com/resources/ provides the following
resources:
A+Schools: working for equity in Pittsburgh Public schools
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PIIN (Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network): large congregation based coalition with a focus
on equity in education
T.E.A.C.H. (Tell Everyone All Cuts Hurt): a grassroots group of teachers, students, parents and
community members fighting for public education in the Steel Valley
PURE Reform: organized in 2008 by parents to discuss Pittsburgh’s reform plans
FUSE: Wilkinsburg after school program with a focus on literacy and student-advocacy
Youth Media Advocacy Project: Carlow University students partner with local High School
students in issues of education policy
Hear Me: a media advocacy project of Carnegie Mellon University amplifying kids’ own voices
Education Voters PA: A 501(c)(4) lobbying group representing the political and electoral interests
of public education supporters
Keystone State Education Coalition: a grassroots group that started as a coalition of school board
members advocating for public education; Lawrence Feinberg publishes an excellent daily
extract of public education news.
Parents United for Public Education: Philadelphia parents and community members fighting for
public schools
Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley: a grassroots group of public education advocates in
the middle part of the state
Save Upper Darby Arts: a grassroots group just outside of Philadelphia that successfully fought
budget cuts to their arts programs in 2012 and are now working on broader public education
advocacy
Taking Root PA: a new parent-led organization in Lancaster County focused on restoring a full,
rich curriculum to public schools there.
Education Policy and Leadership Center: working on state-level policies for sustainable and
equitable funding
Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center: Provides a full analysis of state budget issues, with a
specific link to education spending statewide

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PA School Talk: a statewide conversation site on public education, sponsored by the Education
Law Center
Save Pennsylvania’s Schools: a project of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, which
represents educators. This site has some great data on school budget cuts listed by district across
the state.
Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign: coalition of 30 statewide groups advocating for public
education
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools: https://www.facebook.com/Phillyapps
http://appsphilly.wikispaces.com/
(Opt Out Philly is a committee of APPS optoutphilly@gmail.com)
Caucus of Working Educators (Caucus of WE): http://www.workingeducators.org/
State specific watch-list
Students First-PA http://www.studentsfirst.org/pages/pennsylvanias-plan-for-education-reform
PA Coalition of Public Charter Schools http://pacharters.org/
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
Philadelphia Public School Partnership: http://www.philaschoolpartnership.org/
PennCan: http://penncan.org/
PhillyPlus: http://phillyplus.org/
Philadelphia Great Schools Compact: http://cityofphiladelphia.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/greatschools-compact/
Pennsylvania-Specific Press
Teachers, parents applaud Pittsburgh’s decision to cut back on K-5 student testing
Pittsburgh schools to make big cuts in testing
Good news! A big win against testing frenzy in Pittsburgh
With more than 270 tests in Pittsburgh schools this year, when is enough enough?
A teacher’s troubling account of giving a 106-question standardized test to 11 year olds
Why I won’t let my son take the PSSA
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Parents oppose PSSA standardized tests in Pennsylvania
Philly mom talks about “opting out” of state standardized tests
Some parents “opt out” kids from standardized tests
You can’t expect much success on standardized tests when students don’t even have basic
supplies
Take emphasis off state tests
Some parents having their children opt out of PSSA exams
Pottsville native co-directs documentary on standardized testing in schools
Berks filmmaker takes standardized testing to task
What’s behind the opt out state testing movement?
More opt out of standardized tests
Sending my nervous baby off into the world of standardized testing
Rebellion against standardized testing spreads to Philly
Opt out chronicles why and how
More parents are taking their children out of standardized tests
Pennsylvania parents take a stand against standardized tests
What are the concerns about high-stakes tests for students?
“High Stakes for Students“: our piece, re-published by the Washington Post, identifies 12 ways
high-stakes testing hurts kids
“Testing Madness“: harm caused to students by poorly designed high-stakes-tests
“International Test Panic“: problems comparing U.S. students to those in other countries
“Children are not Guinea Pigs“: questions about field testing
“How to Read the PSSA Report“: a satirical look at why the PSSAs don’t help students
“No More Whoohoo“: Dr. Tim Slekar explains harm caused to education
This is not a legal document. It is for informational purposes only.
Guide revised 12.08.2014

State by state template created by UOO, http://unitedoptout.com

How does high-stakes testing affect our schools?
“Millions Spent, No Results“: dramatic expansion of testing costs schools millions
“From AYP to SPP“: why rating schools is Stupid Public Policy
“Eight Reasons Why Scoring Schools Doesn’t Work“: new PA School Performance Profile
What are some of the high-stakes for teachers?
“The VAM Sham“: concerns about using student test scores to evaluate teacher performance
How can we work together to reduce high-stakes testing and promote more learning?
“Strategies to Reduce High Stakes Testing“: 9 ways we can work together
Invitation to community conversation and Pittsburgh’s only screening of the new movie,
“Standardized”
“Opt Out FAQs”
“Time’s Up“: overview of 2013 opt out movement, with links to resources
“Who’s In to Opt Out?“: highlights of 2013 national opt out efforts
Additional resources:
Fact Sheet on Opting Out (prepared by the Education Law Center, March 2014)
Opt Out SW PA facebook page
Opt Out of State Standardized Tests – Pennsylvania facebook page
Testing Resistance & Reform Spring (new 2014 national action site)
United Opt Out (national organization)
Fair Test (national organization)
PA School Talk, testing forum (run by Education Law Center, Philadelphia)
PPS Assessment Calendar (how many tests are your children taking this year?)

This is not a legal document. It is for informational purposes only.
Guide revised 12.08.2014