Senator Sylvia Allen today urged local school leaders and administrators to work with parents, be respectful and not retaliate against a student for choices that parents may make.
It is that time of year again when Arizona schools are administering the statewide assessment to our students, also known as AzMERIT. Unfortunately, another legislative session is coming to an end where a parent’s right to make educational decisions for their children are not being recognized in our state laws. Senator Allen sponsored SB 1455, which would have allowed parents to opt their children out of the AzMERIT assessment. This year Congress reauthorized the federal education law that gave states the flexibility to develop their own opt-out policies, but Senator Allen was unable to get it through the legislative process this session.
Senator Allen explained, “It is a core belief of mine that a parent’s rights come from God and not the government. Some parents have legitimate concerns about the increased pressure of high-stakes testing and the impact it is having on their children. There is conflict in the law and our values, which is causing confusion and distress and putting schools in unnecessary battle with parents. I will continue to fight for parental rights in directing their child’s education next legislative session.”
Senator Allen continued, “The absence of a law that recognizes a parent’s right to opt-out of statewide testing will not keep parents from making these important choices on behalf of their students. Some are making the choice to opt-out of AzMERIT and I have heard testimonials that some schools are working with parents with grace and dignity, while I have heard that other schools are bullying and utilizing scare tactics. I am urging our schools to work with parents, seek to understand and treat them with the respect and the dignity they deserve.”