2015 Bills

SB204: Making More Explicit a Parent’s Right to Opt a Child out of Testing

This bill passed the Senate 18-6 and passed the House 54-19. It was subsequently signed into law by Governor Herbert.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

As revealed in our recent interview with a Utah mother, schools throughout Utah are forcing children to take assessments which their parents had legally opted them out of. They were supported in doing so by the Utah State Office of Education which authored memos directing schools to only allow parents to opt their children out of select tests, despite a law passed last session by Senator Aaron Osmond, which passed almost unanimously, that provided for an opt out for a “test that is administered statewide ”

To correct this issue, Senator Osmond has authored new legislation that would require schools to excuse children out of “any summative, interim, or formative test that is not locally developed,” or “any test that is federally mandated or mandated by the state.”

Additionally, schools would be prohibited from requiring parents to meet with the principal or other school official as a condition of excusing the child, or require the parent to sign a form of their choosing, rather than accepting the written statement of the parent. The bill would also stipulate that a parent’s written statement would remain in effect until further notice, or when the child is no longer enrolled at the school

Parents are the primary stewards of their children, and the state must remain secondary and supportive to the extent is has any authority to do anything. Parents clearly enjoy the fundamental right to direct their child’s education, and therefore schools should not be forcing them to undergo certain things, such as assessments, which the parents don’t want their child being put through. As such, we support this legislation to rein in the abuse of the Utah State Office of Education.