MDE confirms parents are “within your rights” to refuse M-STEP!

| March 23, 2015 | 3 Replies

Good news!  Parents you can OPT OUT with confidence!  An email from the MDE states you have the right to refuse under current law.

A credible source sent us an email written by Chad Bailey at the MDE Division of Accountability Services.  He wrote in response to a parent requesting information about opting out. Bailey states the facts directly and correctly, “First and foremost please let me make clear that under both federal and state law (Michigan School Code 380.10) you are fully within your rights to refuse participation in state assessments. “

This is the email (slightly edited for privacy)  from Chad Bailey of the MDE in its entirety,

From: “Bailey, Chad (MDE)”
Subject: RE: SECOND REQUEST FOR INFORMATION consequences for refusing M-STEP
Date: March 17, 2015 3:00:14 PM EDT
To:
Ms.
I apologize for the delayed response. Thank you for your email and your interest in understanding the effects of refusing to allow your student to participate in the state assessment. First and foremost please let me make clear that under both federal and state law (Michigan School Code 380.10) you are fully within your rights to refuse participation in state assessments. I have tried below to answer your questions as directly and concisely as possible but if you have additional questions please let me know.
1) What are the consequences for my son’s teacher, school, and district when we refuse the test?
· To fully understand how this will impact your son’s teacher you will need to talk with your local administrators and school board as that is a local decision. How the data are used by and for teachers is determined locally by your district’s administrators and school board.
· The impact on your school and district will be as follows:
o Your son’s non-participation will count against the school’s and district’s participation rates.
o Schools and/or districts whose participation drops below the participation targets receive an overall color of RED on the Michigan School Accountability Scorecard.
2) What does it mean when we are told that we are not permitted to refuse the test? I cannot find anything in the Michigan school code that spells out any consequences, or even references a parent’s responsibility in this matter. Is there specific language anywhere?
· Under both federal and state law (Michigan School Code 380.10) you are fully within your rights to refuse participation in state assessments.
· However, as your questions above acknowledge there may be consequences to that choice. For example, some districts require participation to determine eligibility to some programs or services and others require participation in high school as a condition of graduation.Again, it is important that you check with your local administrators and school board to determine how they choose to use the results of state assessments.
Again, if you have any additional questions please let me know.
Chad Bailey
Accountability Specialist
Office of Evaluation, Strategic Research, & Accountability
Division of Accountability Services
Michigan Department of Education
Regarding consequences to the school, according to a Spring 2015 Assessment Transition Slide 5 produced by the the MDE Office of Standards and Assessments there is NO penalty to the school.  The information is for “informational purposes” with “No Priority, Focus, or Reward labels for the schools.”
Picture 20
Parents you can opt out with CONFIDENCE.   Please share this post with friends and families on Facebook, Twitter, and in your school district today.
To learn more about how to opt out, see this post,

How to Opt-Out with FAQ

Category: Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Karen Braun is a writer and conference speaker on issues related education and family life. Her work has appeared in the American Thinker, Crosswalk, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, WatchDog Wire, and various other websites and magazines. She has also appeared on TV and radio venues. Along with blogging, Karen also enjoys homeschooling, running marathons, and spending time with her husband, their six children, and two grand children. For more information please contact Karen at spunkyhomeschool at gmail dot com
  • Michael Corliss

    Your statement near the end that parents can “opt out with confidence” may be misleading and damaging to parents who fail to check whether the district requires participation in order to graduate.

  • Jan Ellis

    GET THE FACTS: MDE official position on parental opt out. #mstep http://www.mi.gov/documents/mde/OptOut_Position_485412_7.pdf

    • StopCCSSinMI

      Amazingly qualified…No ability to opt out without impacting school participation rate, well duh.
      Sent from my iPad