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School Districts Won’t Accept Parent’s Authority for ‘Refusing the Test’: A ‘local issue’ becomes a ‘national issue’ and United Opt Out offers advice to Missouri parents.  NY parents (above) object to ‘sit & stare’ as well.


United Opt Out recently published an article with a recording of the Sikeston MO curriculum director telling a parent that any student who refused the test would then ‘sit and stare’ during testing time and that it was not a big deal.  From Sikeston, MO Curriculum Admin. on Sit & Stare: “I don’t feel it’s that big of a deal.”:


Sikeston School District in Missouri is requiring students to stay in the testing area during the SBAC. They don’t find “sit and stare” to be a big deal. Last week we shared the superintendent’s letter here. They also state that students who refuse may be subjected to disciplinary actions.


The superintendent’s letter was quite explicit that refusing the test was not an option and if a child did not attempt to answer the assessments, the parents would be notified.  While Missouri statute says that assessments must be given, it does not direct that a student take the assessment.  It also is explicit that a student’s refusal would be reflected in some sort of scoring, even as HB1490 is clear that these assessments do not count toward any teacher/student accountability measure.  The letter clearly states we cannot accept parent requests to opt their students out of assessments:


sikeston letter to parents


Sikeston School District has now clarified its position on refusing the test.  From United Opt Out and Vice President of Sikeston, MO School Board Clarifies Opt Out Policy:

We are well aware of the “sit and stare” policy which has made its way across the nation and we have found that the best way to end such policies is to expose such policies. We are happy to report today that the Vice President of the Sikeston School Board, David Jones, has written a clarification of Sikeston’s policy for SBAC opt outs. Many thanks to Mr. Jones for putting into writing a statement that the Sikeston School District should have written weeks ago, in order to work collaboratively with parents who are refusing a test that is destroying real learning, robbing schools of much needed resources, and ultimately being used to privatize public schools on the backs of teachers and children.

A parent sent us the clarification of Sikeston’s policy on SBAC opt outs which she received from David Jones. His email states:

The term “sit and stare” is not a descriptive term of what occurs in a classroom at Sikeston if a student opts out of the assessment in question. The student may do other assignments, read or sit quietly. As long as the student respects the environment needed by the students taking the assessment there are no issues within the classroom. If a student (any student) is disruptive or promotes an environment that is not conducive for other students to learn or perform the tasks they are assigned, then an applicable disciplinary measure will be taken. But, this would be the case in any situation where this behavior is displayed. Suggesting that students at Sikeston R6 who opt out of assessments are treated in a manner that is unique from other students is simply not accurate.”


United Opt Out offers this suggestion when you refuse the test for your child:


We suggest printing out his statement and taking it to your school on Monday to avoid your child being placed in a “sit and stare” situation. Give your child a copy of the letter as well to present to the teacher if needed during the testing hours.  We also suggest that you send your refusal letter with your child, along with a statement that says your child is required to call you immediately should they be placed in a “sit and stare” situation. Be sure that your child has several books to read, assignments, or creative projects to delve into during the testing time.


Let us know how the ‘refuse the test’ position is received in your school.  UOO also has tweeting suggestions and has asked that parents contact the organization with their location to mark it on its nationwide map of refusals.  Sikeston parents: send in your ‘pin’ to place on the map!

(News graphic from


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