Tracy and Mary Finney thought they were meeting with the principal at West Side Elementary in Marietta, Georgia, this morning to discuss their choice to opt out of of Standardized State Testing for their children. Instead, they were met by a police officer who told the Finney’s that their decision to “oppose something the school is trying to do” is considered “kind of a trespassing situation.”
“I certainly didn’t wake up this morning thinking I was going to meet with police at my children’s school,” said Tracy Finney, father of 9 year old and 11 year old students attending West Side Elementary.
The Finney family had emailed letters to the school’s principal informing the school that they were “refusing” the Georgia State Standardized Test on behalf of two of their children.
“These test practices are so stressful for our kids,” Finney said. “They can’t sleep at night because of the anxiety of failing the test.”
Georgia State Statute mandates* that all children must take these tests to determine if they will be promoted to the next grade level.
Finney stated that his children were not allowed on campus during testing time if they were not taking the test. Finney agreed that he would bring his children to school later in the morning after the testing had ended.
However, later he received an email from the school’s principal, Dr. Karen Smits, stating that the children would still be tested whenever they returned to school, regardless of whether or not the parents agreed.
Finney says he and his wife love the school and the staff, and are saddened that this is taking place.
He is guessing that the school doesn’t have much choice, but is forced to comply with Georgia state law.
The Finneys must now decide if they send their children to school to be tested against their will, or possibly face consequences under Georgia truancy laws.
“We are ready to homeschool if necessary,” says Finney. “But we would like our children to at least be able to finish out the school year with their friends and staff at their elementary school.”
Email communications show that the Finneys have been in dialogue with both the children’s school leadership, as well as Marietta City Schools’ Superintendent’s office.
Associate Superintendent Dr. Dayton Hibbs stated in an email that the children must participate in standardized testing as per “state and federal law.”
While Georgia arguably has such a provision, the federal regulation Dr. Hibbs refers to is a mystery.
And the Finneys are not alone.
Stacey Lee Wheeler has a child with special needs.
She also submitted letters asserting her parental rights to opt her child out of State testing.
She was told that there are no exceptions to the law, and parents may not opt their children out of these State Standardized tests.
Jeff Hunt, Principal of North Forsyth Middle School in Cumming, Georgia, told Wheeler in a recorded conversation (click on audio at the top of this article) that she must withdraw her child from public school, or her child will be tested with or without her permission.
“I worry that my child will be punished if he doesn’t comply,” says Wheeler. “I am concerned that his emotions and special needs may be exploited to get him to participate. Will he not be able to go to his field trip Friday? Will they offer rewards, like a Popsicle, to get him to do what they want?”
Our calls and emails to the schools and districts for comment have not been returned.
Politichicks has acquired the email communications (below) and audio recordings (above) from these savvy parents who are ready to take on a system that allows the nanny state to trump parental rights.
Georgia, it is time to contact your legislators to re-write these backward laws that allow government to collect data on children, and coerce testing without parental permission.
Further, this is an election year. It is time to get elected leaders into office that will stand by individual rights, the right to privacy and parental rights.
And the importance of the right leaders isn’t limited to the legislature.
Georgia’s State School Board Superintendent John Barge is running for governor. If elected he would veto, or sign, legislation. The Georgia Attorney General will be the person who plays a key role in any lawsuit against the state. Where do these candidates stand on the issue of parental rights? Would they side with parents or the government?
Ask them and publish their responses.
Time to roll up your sleeves and get involved. Demand a constitutional government that protects our individual and parental rights.
* The state of Georgia requires the CRCT test for promotion in grades 3, 5, and 8.
Update: “The Finney family has reached an agreement with the Marietta school board that has the children’s best interest at the forefront.
The Finneys’ refusal of the test was upheld, and the children will be allowed to attend school after the daily testing ends without being counted absent.
The Finney’s fifth-grade daughter will also be allowed to participate in the school trip after the testing ends.
The Finney’s are very pleased with the agreement.
We have found a calling to stand for those parents that are being silenced.
While our situation has come to a satisfying resolution, there are still families fighting for their parental rights to refuse the Standardized Testing.
Parents need to understand their rights and not hold the belief that, “We have always done it this way, so what’s wrong with it?” Plenty… plenty of things are wrong with it. You just have to educate yourself to see it.
We firmly believe that a parent’s decision about what their children are exposed to comes first and foremost, and the state legislature should never have overreaching control of the family.
Our names are on the bottom of these children’s birth certificates, not theirs.”–Tracy Finney