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AZ School Superintendent Douglas Supports Parental Rights

AZ Education Superintendent Diane Douglas

AZ Education Superintendent Diane Douglas

Sedona AZ (February 18, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent Diane Douglas today applauded the Senate Education Committee for voting to approve a strike-everything amendment to Senate Bill 1455 that would give parents the right to opt their child out of mandatory state testing.

“I have always fought for the protection of parents’ rights, including what I believe is their right to determine if their child should participate in statewide testing,” said Superintendent Douglas. “This legislation ensures parental rights are not interfered with by federal or state government mandates.”

Protecting Parents’ Rights’ is a proposal in Superintendent Douglas’ AZ Kids Can’t Afford to Wait! Plan, which was announced on October 1, 2015. Douglas’ plan also calls for the reduction of standardized testing.

In October 2015, the Arizona Department of Education asked the Office of the Arizona Attorney General to clarify whether or not parents have the right to opt their children out of statewide assessments. The Attorney General’s response stated that parents do not have the legal right to withdraw their children from state mandated assessments in Arizona public schools. Click here to read the full response.

“All Arizona parents have an inherent right to direct their own child’s education,” said Superintendent Douglas. “This includes providing parents with choices for how and where to educate their child and to opt out of any activity they find objectionable or detrimental to the well being of their children.”

Under the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a 95 percent participation requirement in statewide testing is a mandatory element of a state’s accountability system; however, nothing in the law is to preempt state or local law with respect to a parental decision on assessment participation.

It is uncertain how the U.S. Department of Education will regulate on that matter in the coming months, but Superintendent Douglas will continue to work with federal officials to ensure that Arizona is able to maintain an appropriate balance between parental rights and school accountability.

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