April 4, 2016
Congressman Tom Reed is leading a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, about the parents and students’ right to opt-out of high stakes federal testing. Reed says that 18 other members of Congress signed the letter. “We care about helping our kids achieve their greatest potential. That is why the process of educating our kids should be left up to parents, local governments and teachers,” said Reed. “It’s only right that we get Washington bureaucrats out of our classrooms and that I what I am fighting to do.”
Reed says that the reason he sent the letter, is because the Department of Education warned of financial penalties for states and school districts that failed to meet certain testing targets. Reed says that the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which Reed supported, empowers parents and gives states increased flexibility in student opt-out. Reed’s letter clarifies congressional intent, including the expectation that the Department of Education support states in implementing ESSA.
“We thank Congressman Reed and his colleagues for taking action to advise the U.S. Department of Education not to overstep their bounds and penalize the states by withholding federal funds as a result of parents exercising their legal right to opt out of harmful, high-stakes standardized testing,” said Lynn Leonard, a parent in the Corning-Painted Post School District.
“We applaud Representative Reed and the other Members of Congress who have signed this letter for their leadership on this issue. Every parent should have the right to have a powerful say in their child’s education,” stated Lily Esklesen García, President of the National Education Association. “We fully support parents who take a stand against tests that serve no educational purpose. But ensuring parents have this right is not the end game. The end game is designing a system where parents and educators don’t even consider opting out of assessments because they trust that assessments make sense, guide instruction, and help children advance in learning. ESSA gives a fighting chance to redesign assessment systems so they do just that. This is no time to step backwards. We trust that the Department of Education will follow the intent of the law.”
“I am proud to stand up for students and parents in their right to opt-out. It is time the Department of Education do as Congress has legislated, and return power to the States where it belongs,” said Reed.
Other Members of Congress who signed the letter include: Reps. Joyce, Lummis, Gibson, Cramer, Walker, Huelskamp, Meehan, Ross, Byrne, Katko, Grothman, Olson, Bost, McKinley, David Young, Zeldin, Salmon, and Crawford.
April 4, 2016