Parents across New Hampshire have been running into resistance from school administrators when notifying their district that their children will not be taking the new Common Core “Smarter Balanced Assessment” this month.  

I’ve heard from parents in Hampton who had to seek legal counsel to exercise their rights to refuse and many others who’ve had to push back in order to get the administration to honor their directive.  

Parents are also requesting that their school administrators inform parents that they do have this right to refuse and some schools like Manchester did notifiy parents.

Parents are well informed on the numerous problems with the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  From the data collection of information that will be sent to the Federal Government, to the critiques on how the Smarter Balanced Math Assessment is fatally flawed and should not be used, parents are not comfortable with their children taking this assessment.

This harsh critique by Nashua Teachers on the Smarter Balanced Assessment still disturbs many parents.  
Nashua teachers reported:
*Shockingly negative experience. 
*Totally grade level inappropriate; difficult even for some teachers with advanced degrees.
*Seems the test was designed more as a psychological or sociological experiment, not as a measure of academic learning. Who created this test, anyway? It couldn’t have been by professional educators.
*This would be a crushing emotional experience for my students.
*It is nothing less than child abuse for my special ed students in my classroom.
* I refuse to administer thus test to my students.
Parents not only have a right to refuse, many see it as a duty to protect their children.

Today I received this e-mail from a Keene parent who wants other parents to be informed that they too have a right to “REFUSE.”  Once again, parents are being met with resistance instead of a willingness to get this valuable information out there.
With permission to post by Melissa Harrison: 

Last week I wrote to SAU 29 (Keene) Asst. Superintendent Dan Black asking if/when the parents of the district would be notified that they are allowed to refuse testing for their children, as has been done in several other districts in the state.

I copied every member of the Keene School Board.

I received responses from two members. One asked about my opinions regarding testing and I replied with my two letters of refusal and my letter to the editor.

I was told by one school board member that she expected Dan Black would get back to me.

He never did.

There was a school board meeting last night, so this morning I followed up with the two members who responded to me and cc’d Dan Black.

“Good morning!

I am writing to let you both know I have not heard from Mr. Black regarding the concern I brought up last Thursday relative to letting parents in SAU 29 know their rights as to refusing SBA (and all) testing.

I know there was a school board meeting last night. Was the topic discussed?

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter,

Melissa Harrison”

This was Dan Black’s response:

“Ms. Harrison –

I received no directive to follow up with you.

It has been made clear to me by the state, that your issue is with the State on opting out – not with SAU 29. Reference that technical memo I gave to you. If there are grey areas in the law – let the courts decide.

I have a school system to run, and my mantra for the Spring has been . . . “This is a Smarter Balanced Hysteria Free Zone.” Please bring your strong opinions to the state. Please let me do my job in running the school system.


I replied to him, cc’ing both school board members. I am not pleased at all. Clearly.

“Mr. Black:

It is not just my opinion that parents in SAU 29 are being misled by you and your leadership. It is fact. Nowhere in the technical advisories does it say that parents are required by law to have their children participate in the SBA testing.

I do not appreciate your condescending tone. It is unnecessary and does little to create an atmosphere of collaboration and transparency.

Yet again, let me iterate that this has nothing to do with “OPTING OUT.” This is about parental rights to REFUSE testing. There is a big difference. I would expect that part of your job in “running the school system” is knowing the difference.

Parents in SAU 29 deserve to be told the truth about their rights, rather than being misled by the leadership of this district.

Thank you,

Melissa Harrison”