Hite: District to Share “Opt Out” Info on Testing

Announcement comes weeks after teachers threatened with discipline for doing the same.



The Philadelphia School District is preparing to share information with parents on how to opt their children out of standardized tests, Superintendent William Hite said Thursday night at a meeting of the School Reform Commission.

The announcement came several weeks after teachers at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences were threatened with discipline for helping students and their families there opt out of the tests. A reported 17 percent of the school’s students had opted out of testing.

Kelly Collings, a teacher at Feltonville, said in an email Thursday night that an “investigatory conference” scheduled at the school for late January had been canceled because of an administrator’s illness — and never rescheduled. “There has been no communication whatsoever from the district to the teachers since the original memo was issued on January 21,” she said.

Hite said the opt-out information would be distributed to parents in the form of a FAQ. “Individuals will be free to share that information, but we want to be sure it’s the accurate information about the opt-out provision,” he said.

In the meantime, a coalition of education groups is sponsoring a “test-in” forum to discuss the reasons and strategies for resisting standardized tests. The forum is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Free Library, 1901 Vine, in the Central Branch Room. It is sponsored by the Caucus of Working Educators, Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, Teacher Action Group, Philadelphia Student Union, Parents United for Public Education, and Action United.