Opt-Out Position on High-Stakes Standardized Assessments

The following New Business Item was adopted at the MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates held on May 8 and 9, 2015, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

Motion: The MTA President and Vice President will send a letter to Commissioner Chester, all legislators, the media, and all local presidents indicating that:

MTA believes:

  • Parents in Massachusetts deserve the opportunity and choice to opt their public school students out of high-stakes standardized assessments.
  • School districts should be required to provide all parents with yearly, written information fully explaining their right to opt out students from high‐stakes assessments.
  • Students who opt out of high‐stakes assessments should not be included in data used by state or federal entities in "grading schools," determining a school's success or failure, or other punitive measures.
  • No parent or student should be treated in any punitive way based on the parental decision to remove a student from high‐stakes standardized assessments.
  • The importance of educator open dialogue is essential in the parent and educator relationship as a trusted community leader. No educator should be disciplined in any school or district for discussing with students, parents or community members, options for opting students out of high‐stakes standardized assessment whether in individual conversations, parent/teacher conferences, community meetings, or any other social or professional conversation, and the rights of free speech should apply in every situation in discussing student opt-out options.

The MTA will act to defend any member who faces discipline or dismissal for taking any of these actions. The MTA will develop a document concerning opting out appropriate for distribution to parents with questions about opting out, and will disseminate it as appropriate, and will support parents and students who opt out.