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OPT OUT NEWS: Parents at more than 74 Chicago elementary schools have opted their children out of the ISAT tests by the evening before the testing program, which begins March 4, 2014

Parents at at least 74 Chicago elementary schools (out of roughly 500) have requested that their children be opted out of the ISAT (Illinois State Achievement Tests) testing program as of March 3, 2014. The update on the number of schools where opt outs have been verified was provided by the Chicago Teachers Union on the even of the testing cycle, which is scheduled to begin on March 4, 2014 and extend through March 14. The number of individual children who will be opting out of the test exceeds 1,000 (including the two sons of this reporters, whose elementary age sons attend O.A. Thorp Elementary School).

Cassie Creswell of "More Than A Score" (Chicago) spoke about the Opt Out movement at the press conference at Chicago's Drummond Montessori Elementary School on February 28, 2014. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.The Opt Out of the ISAT campaign is distinct from the Boycott Campaign, in which teachers are refusing to administer the ISAT tests. So far, two elementary schools (Saucdeo and Drummond) have announced that their teachers have voted not to administer the tests, while individual teachers at dozens of other schools have confirmed to Substance that they will not administer the tests, usually for what amounts to "conscientious objection."

The explosion of the Chicago Opt Out movement comes despite orders from CPS administrators -- usually "Chief Officers" of the school system's 13 so-called "Networks" (which are what Chicago's sub-districts are currently called -- to principals demanding that the principals bully the parents and children into rescinding opt out forms which have been submitted by the parents. The ISAT program only applies to elementary children, and none of those who have asked to opt out is older than 14 years old to Substance's knowledge. Opt Out is a right of parents.

The pressure on parents to rescind opt out letters has been growing since the movement to Opt Out has grown. Principals have also threatened teachers who have encouraged parents to opt out their children. The threats have included unpaid days off and other sanctions. In some cases, principals have told teachers they will be arrested if they leaflet parents on the public sidewalks outside their schools, even though the teachers are distributing the materials on their own time.

More than 40,000 Opt Out leaflets have been distributed by members of the Caucus Of Rank and file Educators (CORE), since the Opt Out movement began a few weeks ago. Many parents and teachers have also gotten the leaflets duplicated at their own expense. A CORE fundraising benefit at Chicago's Second City helped raise the money to pay for the leaflets that have been helping to build the movement.

The list (alphabetized) as of the end of the school day on March 3, 2014 was the following. The ISAT is only given in the elementary schools, but some high schools (listed at the bottom of the list) have "academic centers" which serve seventh and eight graders.

COMPLETE LIST ALPHA AS OF FIVE PM:

Addams Elementary School

Alcott Elementary School

Azuela Elementary School

Belding Elementary School

Bell Elementary School

Blaine Elementary School

Burley Elementary School

Burr Elementary School

Byrne Elementary School

Chopin Elementary School

Clay Elementary School

Clissold Elementary School

Coonley Elementary School

Dever Elementary

Disney II Elementary Magnet School

Drummond Montessori

Eberhart Elementary School

Ebinger Elementary School

Edison Regional Gifted Center

Franklin Fine Arts Center

Garvey Elementary School

Gallistel Language Academy

Galileo Elementary School

Goethe Elementary School

Grimes Elementary School

Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy

Hefferan Elementary School

Inter-American Elementary Magnet School

Jamieson Elementary School

Jungman Elementary School

LaSalle Language Academy

Leland Elementary School

McPherson Elementary School

Manierre Elementary School

Mayer Magnet School

Mitchell Elementary School

Mireles Academy

Mount Greenwood Elementary School

Morrill Math & Science School

Murphy Elementary School

Murray School

Ninos Heros School

Nettelhorst Elementary School

Ogden Elementary School

Otis Elementary School

Pasteur Elementary School

Peirce Elementary School

Peterson Elementary School

Prescott Elementary School

Pritzker Elementary School

Ravenswood Elementary School

Ray Elementary School

Ruiz Elementary School

Salazar Bilingual Center

Saucedo Scholastic Academy

Sauganash Elementary School

Sheridan Math & Science Academy

Smyser Elementary School

Stone Scholastic Academy

South Loop Elementary School

Suder Montessori Magnet School

Sutherland Elementary School

Taylor Elementary School

Telpochcalli Elementary School

Thorp (James N.) Elementary School

Thorp (O. A.) Scholastic Academy Elementary

Waters Elementary School

Young (Ella Flagg) Elementary School

Zapata Academy Elementary School

HIGH SCHOOLS WITH 7TH, 8TH GRADE CLASSES

Kenwood Academy High School(7th, 8th grade program)

Lane Technical High School (7th, 8th grade program)

Lindblom Math & Science Academy (7th, 8th grade program)

Taft High School (7th, 8th grade program)

Whitney M Young Magnet High School (7th, 8th grade program)

The Opt Out movement is also being built by several community and parent groups, including More Than A Score, PURE, Parents 4 Teachers, Raise Your Hand, and other groups too numerous to list. Parents and teachers expect the Opt Out movement to expand after thousands of children see their fellow students opting out when the testing program begins on March 4, 2014. Website URLs. More Than A Score: http://morethanascorechicago.org/. PURE:

CTU PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON MARCH 3, 2014:

ISAT BOYCOTT SPREADS TO 74 SCHOOLS... Parents choose education over indoctrination by opting their children out

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin. March 3, 2014 312/329-6250

CHICAGO - Despite repeated threats and miscommunication from the school district, parents at 74 Chicago Public Schools are opting their children out of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). Teachers at two schools, Saucedo and Drummond, said they intend to boycott the low-stakes test when it is to be formerly administered on Tuesday. (Source: More Than A Score: http://morethanascorechicago.org/).

Via robo calls and other scare tactics, CPS officials are telling parents that that if too many parents have their children opt out, the district faces losing state and federal funding. Catalyst Chicago, an independent publication dedicated to education, says: "Loss of such funding is unprecedented and at most it could trigger reallocating funds, but even that is highly unlikely...."

Students are not legally obligated to take the ISAT and parents have the legal right to "direct the upbringing and education of their children."

Disney II Elementary Magnet School

Chopin School

Burley Elementary School

Pritzker School

Manierre Elementary School

Garvey Elementary School

Ray Elementary School

Addams Elementary School

Saucedo Scholastic Academy

Grimes School

Mount Greenwood Elementary School

Drummond Montessori

Mayer Magnet School

Nettelhorst Elementary School

Thorp (OA) Scholastic Academy

Coonley Elementary School

Belding Elementary School

Bell Elementary School

Ogden Elementary School

Franklin Fine Arts Center

Blaine Elementary School

Burr Elementary School

Byrne Elementary School

Clissold Elementary School

Galileo Elementary School

Goethe Elementary School

Inter-American Elementary Magnet School

Kenwood Academy High School

Lane Technical High School

Morrill Math & Science School

Mitchell Elementary School

Sheridan Math & Science Academy

Stone Scholastic Academy

Telpochcalli Elementary School

Taft High School

Whitney M Young Magnet High School

Otis Elementary School

Ella Flagg Young Elementary School

Hefferan Elementary School

Alcott Elementary School

Smyser Elementary School

Waters School

Ravenswood Elementary School

Gallistel Language Academy

South Loop Elementary School

Suder Montessori Magnet School

Clay Elementary School

Jungman Elementary School

Leland Elementary School

Thorp (James) Elementary School

Taylor Elementary School

Ruiz Elementary School

Azuela Elementary School

Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy

Mireles Academy

Ninos Heros School

Zapata Academy

Murphy Elementary School

Peirce Public School

Jamieson Elementary School

Pasteur Elementary School

Edison Regional Gifted Center

Lindblom Math & Science Academy

Murray School

Peterson Elementary School

Salazar Bilingual Center

Sauganash Elementary School

Sutherland Elementary School

Ebinger Elementary School

Eberhart Elementary School

Prescott Elementary School

McPherson Elementary School

Dever Elementary

LaSalle Language Academy

###



Comments:

March 4, 2014 at 11:57 AM

By: Kim Scipes

ISAT Opt-out

Interesting to note that this movement has FINALLY gotten some mainstream media attention: both Tribune in print edition, and Sun-Times in electronic version give FRONT PAGE story about the opt-out movement. Judging by their lack of prominent coverage--when even covered--of this issue before today, it seems that the 1% just didn't want anyone to know.... Hee her. Things look like they may get even ore interesting over the next week and a half!

March 4, 2014 at 10:05 PM

By: lesli vazquez

opt out letter

how can i get an opt out letter????

March 5, 2014 at 6:06 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Opt Out letter available from More Than A Score

A sample Opt Out letter is available from More Than A Score. You can read it and write one of your own, or you can download the More Than A Score form letter at their website.

March 5, 2014 at 10:14 AM

By: Lee Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT

Opt Out

Best wishes from Louisiana parents and educators who have not yet found the courage to follow your example. While our tests are high stakes, they will not be enforced for the next two years because of the CCSS unknowns. This opens the opportunity for parents to make their opposition to high stakes standardized testing known. In solidarity!

March 6, 2014 at 10:59 PM

By: Ed Hershey

Add Healey?

A Lindblom student got her parents to opt out her sister, who attends Healey Elementary. Does that add one to the list?

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