Yes, Opting-Out of M-STEP is Viable!

We’ve been receiving reports from parents who–after notifying their school that their child is opting-out of the M-STEP assessment–have been told  by school officials that opting out is “not a viable option.”  This is FALSE.

Parents CAN and MUST opt out their student out of M-STEP.

The rumor that opting out is not viable appears to be coming from a blog post on the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals website.

The premise of the post is that the Constitution gives the State Board of Education leadership and supervision over public education in Michigan.  (Mich. Const., Art. VIII, § 3) HOWEVER, the law also acknowledges that it is the natural and fundamental right of the parent to direct the education of children and the schools serve the needs of the students by cooperating with the parents.  (THE REVISED SCHOOL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 451 of 1976 380.10)

So if your school principal tells you that opting out or refusing the test is NOT viable, do not be intimidated. Stand your ground.   You can and should opt out of the M-STEP.  Here are six reasons why:

Six Reasons to Opt-Out of M-STEP

1.  It’s your right to Opt-Out! The schools work for YOU! It’s the law!

THE REVISED SCHOOL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 451 of 1976 380.10
Rights of parents and legal guardians; duties of public schools. [M.S.A. 15.4010 ] Sec. 10. It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupils’ parents and legal guardians to develop the pupils’ intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment. HistoryAdd. 1995, Act 289, Eff. July 1, 1996

2.   M-Step violates the Michigan budget signed by Gov. Snyder.  M-STEP  is Smarter Balanced repackaged.

The Michigan legislature passed a budget last year preventing the Michigan Department of Education from spending money on  Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC).   Instead of following the law, the MDE officials created a “new” test called M-STEP and, with a $4.9 million membership fee, then filled it with SBAC questions.  Read more here at our post, “Is Michigan Cheating on M-STEP”.  The MDE must be held accountable and students should NOT take the test.

3. Membership fees in the SBAC group is unconstitutional and violates numerous federal statutes.

From the Washington Post, “Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green ruled that SBAC itself is “an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, § 10, cl. 3, as well as numerous federal statutes;

4.  M-STEP is a meaningless one-time test used only for 2015.

School officials admit that this test is meaningless.  “Our challenge is that this is a one-year interim assessment. I’m not sure how meaningful that will be for us because we can’t compare results,” Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Ron Caniff said about the M-STEP.  (MLive Schools prep for new M-STEP)

A one-time test serves the interests of the state, NOT the student.  The test is painfully long with NO meaningful benefit to the students.

5.  Opting-Out allows your child the freedom-to-learn.

Opting out tells the schools to spend more time teaching than testing.  High stakes testing must stop.  Can you imagine Thomas Edison being told he had to sit and take a standardized test?  When you opt your student out of testing, they can be given meaningful work which expands their knowledge and curiosity.   You may discover that you have the next Thomas Edison,  something a standardized test will never be able to determine.   It’s time to end the testing mentality and get back to teaching.

6. Opting-Out stops Common Core State Standards and P20 education for the workforce.

Gov. Snyder said in 2013,  “I want to emphasize a vision of P-20.  A PRENATAL to life long learning.  We have to get beyond the old models of saying there are silos for  for K12,  silos for community college, for higher ed,  for preschool.  They shouldn’t be separate.  They can be separate institutions, not to threaten the institutions. But shouldn’t we make it a seamless system?  Where a student in that system doesn’t have to figure out all these tough choices but can just focus on success…and understanding it starts even at the prenatal stage and looking at is the expectant mother getting the right diet, the right primary care…”

 Opting-Out IS VIABLE!  

Print out the Thomas More opt-out form below and confidently take it to your student’s school.  

Student Privacy Protection Opt-Out Form – Thomas More …

Please share this post with other families who need to know their rights.  It’s time parents not bureaucrats or business leaders determine what happens in our schools!

For help learning how to Opt-Our and answers to FAQ see this post,

How to Refuse M-STEP/PSAT with FAQ