The harms caused by the emphasis places on standardized test scores, which had reached toxic and detrimental levels BEFORE the pandemic, will only be exacerbated by forcing students to return to in-person schooling during a surge in the number of cases, simply for the purpose of administering these tests. This is especially true for our most vulnerable populations in JCPS, while simultaneously undermining the success of important initiatives taxpayers and stakeholders have set for our districts. Teachers and administrators hands are often tied when it comes to advising what is best for our children and our schools, which is why parents and students must take an active role in leading the change our district and state need.
Kentucky does not yet have an opt-out provision written into statute. Therefore, you cannot legally “opt out” of high stakes tests such as KPREP. There was a bill that would have allowed that, but it died in committee during the 2021 Legislative Session. Our only other hope was that President Biden would keep his promise to allow states to request a testing waiver, but that didn’t happen either.
This is why Dear JCPS and other concerned public education groups across Kentucky are developing a #RefuseTheTestsKY campaign to assist in creating an informed and empowered parent and student base that can help each district reach these important goals as soon as possible. In keeping with NEA’s national plea to President Biden to #CancelTheTests, we are expanding the message to include those who have the power to actually do something about it – KENTUCKY PARENTS AND STUDENTS – with the specific action you will be required to take which is to “refuse” the tests.
In order to explain these concepts, as well as your rights, responsibilities and potential repercussions of refusing high-stakes tests in JCPS and across the state, as well as to answer any questions you may have, we will be hosting a virtual town hall (tentatively on Sunday, April 25, 2021). Questions will be taken from the audience as well as from social media.
If you haven’t already done so, please visit the Opt-Out Toolkit for a 10-Step-Guide to Refusing The Tests, sample letters, and more. And to help us build community and keep you informed, please be sure to complete the survey below: