When A State Forces A Child- Why You Should Opt Out of Testing

08 Feb, 2015 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment


Many of you may have noticed my posts have been a bit more sporadic lately. This week has been CRAZY. All of those things they tell you happen in politics, DO in fact, happen in politics.


Here’s a recap of what my family has been through this week:

Assistant Attorney General Further Restricts Parental Rights in Utah

School Violates Law, Forces Students to Take Exams Against Parent’s Wishes

Opting Out of State Tests

* Confusion abounds on Utah school test opt-out rules


Here is my public response, given in two minutes… since that is all they gave me at the Utah Board of Education Meeting. You can view it here. Or listen to the meeting here.


My name is Heather Gardner
I am the mother of five children.
I am the daughter of a teacher who taught for 24 years up until that day she died.
I was a former State School Board candidate, however, the nominating committee and Judge Waddoups did not choose to place me on the ballot.
And, I am also the mother of a child, who last week was forced to take an assessment, the DIBELS at her school.
Many of you–in fact, all of you, should have received an email in your inbox this week. If you have not seen that email, I am happy top re-forward you that email to you, which tells the story of what we have been going through the past two years advocating for parents’ rights in our school and the right to opt out of statewide assessments, not state administered assessments.
I have had three of my children forced to take an alternate exam on SAGE testing day and we have been pressured by our local school, our executive charter board, and ultimately, our state to surrender our parental rights.
I am the mother of multiple children who did not reach benchmark on DIBELS, or national and state proficiency levels on end of year testing. However, I was never notified by my school, that they did not meet that.
I am the mother of a kindergartner who went through seven hours of neuro psychological evaluation and assessment by the school, and had data on my side, yet no services were offered to my son.
I am a mother who has gone through injections with my children, occupational therapy, genetic counseling, CT scans, and due process.


and I will not let my children’s future be at stake because an Assistant Attorney General or an assessment director tells my school they need to force my child to take a test.
My child went on her last day of school to say goodbye to her teachers and friends, and was singled out and pulled out, and was forced to take a test, directly against parental opt out.
I would ask that you consider parental rights today and not stand idly by, but vote that the opt out memo that was issued this week be amended.
Please vote on this.
Give the rights back to the parents.
Under both the United States Constitution and the constitution of this state, a parent possesses a fundamental liberty, interest in the care , custody and management of the parents’ children.

Does this make you upset?

Are you as concerned as I am?

If so, here’s what you can do:

1) Opt out or refuse statewide and common core related assessments. In my state you have the legal right to do so under SB122

2) Share the media articles above or comment directly on them

3) Learn your rights and exercise them. Not sure what they are? Look here

4) If you are in Utah, email any of the following:


Mainstream media contacts

Your House Representative

Your Senator

Senator Aaron Osmond

Utah Board of Education

Superintendent Brad Smith

Utah State Office of Education Assessment

Judy Park at USOE

AAG Chris Lacombe

AG Sean Reyes

Legacy Preparatory Academy

Executive Board at LPA

Your local school

Your local and district school board


5) If you have had similar experiences or have input on how to prevent this from happening again, share it on this form.

6) Support a new parental rights bill in Utah and Aaron Osmond’s bill which should be introduced in 2015 session to amend SB122. Email him and ask him to expedite SB204.

7) Come to the Utah State Board of Education Meeting Friday March 6, 2015 at 8 AM. 250 S. 500 E. Salt Lake City, Utah. Wear a green shirt. Ask the board NOT to renew our ESEA waiver in March.

8) Speak up to defend teachers, children and parents.

9) Learn about the SAGE formative, interim, and summative tests administered by AIR, statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) and data collection on our children. Google it, you may be surprised.

10) Follow this years’ legislation that relates to education. Read the bills, track them and testify in committee if you have a strong opinion. Discuss your wishes with your representative or senator.

11) Ask your local school and board to introduce a new parental rights, opt out and student privacy policy. Write one yourself. I did.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world- Mahatma Gandhi



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