Patricia Kinsella’s Opt-Out Letter

Thank you for your prompt response. Unfortunately, it may be that you have not yet been made aware of my right to opt my child out of the PARCC assessment.
As an engaged parent and an experienced education professional, I am well acquainted with the PARCC assessment.  I formed part of the district team that prepared for and led implementation of the PARCC pilot in the Brookline Public Schools last year in my former role as Brookline’s Coordinator for ELA, K-8. I have scrutinized sample test items and test administration manuals; I have trained principals and teachers in test administration, and I have observed students in multiple grades take the assessment, in both the online and paper-based versions.  My experience last year left me with grave concerns regarding the test.
These concerns include the following test-based deficits: the poor design of both individual test items and the online test environment; the lack of clarity regarding the security and long-term use of student assessment data, and the inappropriate academic level of individual test items. I have additional concerns regarding the overuse of standardized assessment, the misuse of assessment data to sort and rank teachers, schools, and districts, and the coercive nature of current national and state policies regarding standardized assessment.
The information posted on the BLS and Boston Public Schools websites does not present a sufficiently compelling case to alleviate these concerns.  I have, therefore, instructed my daughter not to participate in PARCC assessments this year.  
Please arrange for my daughter to have a productive, alternative educational experience during all testing periods. Commissioner Mitchell Chester has distributed guidelines, available at, on the provision of alternate learning opportunities for students who opt out of the assessments.
In addition, please do not place my child in the unconscionable position of choosing between her parent and her teachers on the days of PARCC testing. With this notice, I have exercised my parental right to opt my child out of the assessment. Do not require that my daughter – on her own, as a child – reinforce this right while sitting in a classroom full of peers and test administrators.  Please ensure that she is aware of what her alternate learning opportunity will be in advance of the testing sessions and that this opportunity will meet her individual academic and social-emotional needs.
Thank you, again, for responding to my email. Please let me know if additional information would help you meet the needs of my child during the test administration windows.
Patricia Kinsella