It’s almost Spring, which on top of prettier weather, baby animals, and blossoms means we will soon be moving into heavy testing season in many schools. While I work primarily with homeschooling families, it is immensely important to me that all parents and all children are aware of their rights to an education environment and experience that supports their individual needs.
It is important that you know your rights as public school parents:
1. You have the right to refuse standardized testing. You can either keep your children home during test days or the school is required to provide them with an alternate place to spend the day/testing time (library or otherwise). Ask the school office/principal for details, but it usually is as simple as a quick form or letter.
2. You have the right to refuse homework. It is NOT federally mandated that your child do homework. Simply let your child’s teachers know that you want your child’s time at home to be spent doing what children are supposed to be doing – playing. Any work that comes home will not be completed. They are not allowed to penalize you or or your child for this. Homework should not be counted towards grades.
3. You have the right to refuse that your child ever lose recess. FOR ANY REASON. Recess can not and should not be used as a form of reward or discipline. It is a NECESSITY. If your child is having trouble in school, welcome the teachers to contact you to discuss. Explain that under no circumstance should your child’s recess time be taken away.
If you need help standing your ground in any of these areas, I have created something just for you. A packet with helpful tips and resources, as well as email templates you can send directly to your child’s teachers, schools, and principals to support your stance. They include documentation, support, and state your claims clearly.
They are completely free. It is incredibly important to me that parents know what their rights are in the school system, and that every child is treated with the utmost respect for their individual rights. The goal of these letters is not just to make a change for YOUR child, but to educate the teachers and administrators on the rights of parents and the benefits of what you are saying, in hopes that changes for all students can happen.
I can’t fix everything, but I can help fix this. Children deserve time to be children. Recess is a right. Freedom from work at home is a right. Freedom from unnecessary testing is a right. But YOU have to fight for your child. These letters will help you.
If you are a parent of a child in school, these will be immensely valuable to you. If you are a homeschooling family, share this with your friends.
Note: All information here is based off of information for US-based schools and laws. If you live outside of the US, you can still begin your fight with these letters, but expect to do some additional research about your opt-out regulations.