What can I do?

There are several ways you can help to support this movement against the Common Core and high-stakes testing.

For example, you can refuse to take the exam and ask to be placed in an alternate classroom while testing is occuring, spread the word and educate friends and family, speak at your local and state Board of Education meetings, or write to the DOE.

Refusing the PARCC

Simply writing a letter to the school district informing them that the student will not be taking the exam is sufficient. The letter should be sent to the principal, teachers, and superintendent of that district. You can find sample refusal letters at United Opt Out, which also has a plethora of additional information for nearly every state. Some school districts will make attempts to talk the parent(s) out of refusing, but the final decision belongs to the parents. However, others will accept the letter and place the child in a study hall or other classroom while their peers are testing. No district can send home a student because they refuse the exam. The Bill of Rights and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26) ensures that everyone has the right to an education, especially in the United States. Additionally, sit-and-stare policies are technically not allowed, since non-testing students should not be in the testing environment (2015 PARCC Test Administrator Manual for Computer-Based Testing, Section 4.2).

Toms River and the PARCC

Students and parents in Toms River Regional Schools have the same rights as any other parent in the state and country. Officially, there is no known policy about refusals within Toms River Regional Schools, but several documents have been leaked regarding the local situation. The most important document from the district has been this memo from Superintendent Healy. In summary, it states that a child refusing the PARCC will be placed "in a supervised alternate location during the scheduled testing time each day." The student will essentially have a study hall for testing hours, and "is encouraged to bring reading material, homework, class assignments, etc. to work on."

Strauss Esmay Associates, LLP is currently the owner of the Toms River Regional School policies. In a leaked document, that has not yet been adopted by the local board, they lay out the foundation for refusals of student assessments. They give several options, one including sit-and-stare (which is not permitted by Pearson's regulations) and the other being placed in a study hall. It also mentions that if a student is in school, but not testing, they are to be recorded as present in school. Finally, they continue to state that "there shall be no disciplinary consequence imposed upon a student who does not participate in a Statewide assessment." Again, this policy has not yet been adopted by Toms River Regional Schools, but it displays that enough parents and students have already refused the exam to prompt the law firm to write a policy.

What not to do

Don't be rude to the child's teachers, school administrators, or the school board. They are just doing their job, and maybe they agree that the Common Core is not suitable. Yelling and going on doesn't accomplish anything. However, having a well articulated and an educated plan will help you succeed in refusing the CCSS and PARCC, as you appear much more respectable and informed about the situation.

Mailing list

We have a mailing list! I will occasionally send updates about this website and important news regarding the Common Core and PARCC. You are free to register here: