Friday, December 5, 2014

The ONE Opt Out Letter for Pennsylvania

This letter is comprehensive and would just need to be tailored to an individual student as it pertains to them with regard to the PSSA, Keystone Exam/Project-based assessments.  Please feel free to share and use in any way.

Dear Superintendent:

Pursuant to  Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(4) I am hereby exercising my right as a parent to have my child, [NAME], excused from PSSA/Keystone testing because of religious and philosophical beliefs.  Also, I would like to review the project-based assessment per PA School Code Chapter 4.4(d)(1)(2)(3) which states:

(d) School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following: (1) Access to information about the curriculum, including academic standards to be achieved, instructional materials and assessment techniques.  (2) A process for the review of instructional materials. 

Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the content of the Project-based assessment is a test aligned to the modules of Keystone exam.  Therefore, Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(4), the religious opt out option used for the Keystone Exam, would apply to the PBA as the content is the same.

After much research regarding common core, Pennsylvania’s statewide longitudinal data system and its collection and sharing requirements, I have become even more suspicious and skeptical on the state's ability to secure student data.  Therefore, I am writing to inform you that my child be excused from ALL computer assessments, survey's and programs, CDT's, Study Island, Project-based assessments, and any other computer app, game etc that requires a student login ID.   

If there is a computerized assessment or program my child must take, I request paper/pencil only or I require prior parental informed consent and an anonymous student login where their name or student ID is not attached.  

Additionally, THIS LETTER from Anita Hoge dated November 21, 2014 to the PDE and Governor Corbett requesting a formal investigation into data collection via computer programs and assessments in Pennsylvania as to is deeply concerning, legally and otherwise.  From page 4:
It is an abuse of power and a conspiracy to try to implement these affective domain standards without vetting, without parental input, without any regulatory oversight, and without informed written parental consent. Why is the Department of Education so bold as to ignore the law? 
And this from page 7:
In fact, when you search the SAS website portal and query Interpersonal Skills, there are 2,383 activities, lesson plans, programs, curriculum, etc., that are returned that still remain on the portal. The Safe Schools website portal also includes Interpersonal Skills Standards listed.
  1. These embedded Interpersonal Skills Standards, according to federal law and state policy, must have informed written parental permission before any student is exposed to these lesson plans and curriculum.
Per THIS PRESS RELEASE dated November 24, 2014:
We demand a moratorium on the collection of data because of contracts that have been discovered and are signed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to disclose personally identifiable information, which is personal data on the students and his/her family, without the parent's knowledge or consent. This personally identifiable information includes information on every student's personality, attitudes, values, beliefs, and disposition, a psychological profile, called Interpersonal Skills Standards and Anchors. This data has been illegally obtained through deceptive means without the parent's knowledge or consent through screening, evaluations, testing, and surveys. These illegal methods of information gathering were actually fraudulently called "academic standards" on the Department of Education website portal.
Until these and other concerning legal issues regarding student data mentioned in the above referenced letter are resolved, and since my child is not of legal age to legally bind him/herself to ownership of their personal data, that responsibility falls on the parents.  Hence this request to protect my minor child's identity and student data.  Since the Pennsylvania Department of Education will not allow me to opt my child out of the increasingly invasive data collection through PIMS I will remove them from the means for data collection.  

I am sure you can appreciate my concerns with the serious issues referenced above and their legal ramifications.  It is my parental responsibility and desire to protect my child from the possibility of identity theft at an early age.  While I do also have concerns with the educational value of the Common Core aligned curriculum, computer programs and assessments, my biggest concern with electronic technology is data collection and privacy of my minor child. 

I look forward to your confirmation of this request.


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