in the lion's den

In stark contrast to our article yesterday regarding the Sikeston School District issuing an edict to parents regarding their refusal requests and informing them they do not have parental rights to do so, a parent from another district in Missouri is refusing the tests and will face no punitive action from his district.  A father’s guest post on his educational journey into Common Core, SBAC assessments and the ultimate decision to refuse the tests for his daughter:


As a father of two elementary school-aged children, I never dreamed I would become a political activist over school issues happening in our small town and statewide in Missouri. Yesterday, March 26, 2015, my wife and I took a stand against our local school district and upcoming SBAC testing that is to begin in a few weeks here and across the state.

I first learned of Common Core after watching a five-part series of You Tube videos hosted by Jane Robbins, of the American Principles Project.

I began reading and researching the overwhelming information about Common Core over the course of the next few years, and primarily focused on what was happening in Missouri and our local school district. My mother is a retired teacher and my sister currently teaches, and I began asking each of them, as well as friends and other family, about the standards. Much to my surprise, no one really knew much about Common Core, which made me research even more for answers to questions I had. There always seems to be an attitude in a small town of, “That kind of stuff doesn’t happen here….only in the big cities.” That is certainly not the case with education.
Soon, I began following Missouri politics, especially what our Governor was doing about these new standards. I was outraged to find that he, along with the help of bureaucrats in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in 2009, agreed to adopt Common Core standards without any input from the state legislature, let alone, parents, ie, the public.

Fast forward to last year, the state legislature passed HB1490, and signed into law by Governor Nixon, an attempt to create new standards of education to replace Common Core standards. And, with the end of the 2014 school year, MAP tests were eliminated, to be replaced with the SBAC tests…. tests that have not been validated or tested as to reliability.

This brings me to my story of our visit with the elementary school principal here in “my neck of the woods”. During our meeting, we were told that after she consulted with a State supervisor, we would not be allowed to refuse our daughter take the tests. “If she (our daughter) is present, she must take the tests.” She explained she had not had this issue come up before, and to date, had no other parents come forward about the testing, and that she was shocked to learn that Missouri offered no option of refusal or opting out of the SBAC tests. I certainly understand that administrators and teachers are caught in the middle of the issue, but, none the less, I explained to her that we would follow school policy and presented, in a formal, written letter, our refusal, signed and dated.
Included with the letter, was a copy of the recent court decision that the SBAC consortia was ruled unconstitutional.

It was also acknowledged and understood that by not allowing us, the parents, to refuse testing, the school district could face involvement in legal action at some point. Her mother and I indicated that we wanted all the information we presented to the school, including the refusal letter and copy of the court decision, to be included in our daughter’s personal file.

In a few short weeks, my wife and I will pull our daughter out of the local public school for the week of testing, as well as the following week, which is for re-testing. At the end of that two-week period, we will then re-enroll her into public school here, to finish the school year. As I stated in the beginning of this piece, I never thought of myself as a political activist, only a Dad, a parent, doing what he feels best for his children. As we drove home, I was reminded of a slogan that my son and daughter learned at church camp last summer….DARE TO BE A DANIEL. Parents don’t be afraid to speak out. They’re your children and it’s time to get involved and find out what they are learning in our schools.




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