Joanne Yurchak has sent us the following for those parents wishing to opt-out of the PSSA and/or Keystone exams:
It is well known that the only reason available for parents to opt their children out of the PSSA’s and/or the Keystone exams is if they find that the test(s) are in conflict with their religious beliefs. In order to establish this, the parent has to follow a specified procedure that involves (1) contacting the school administrator; (2) viewing the test; (3) signing a confidentiality agreement; and finally, (4)notifying the district Superintendent that you are opting out your child because of religious beliefs. The opt-out procedure is detailed on the web site: http://optoutpa.blogspot.com/2014/08/how-to-opt-out-of-pssa-and-keystone.html.
The parent is NOT required to note any specific religion or specific objections. In fact, a reputable attorney associated with legislators in Harrisburg has said that it is ILLEGAL for districts to demand to know specific religious objections and for them to “validate” other people’s religions.
Unfortunately, there are many school districts who are misinforming parents as to proper procedures for opting out. Many are telling them that they have to cite specific religious reasons for opting out, while others are telling the parents that they must explain why specific problems on the tests conflict with their religious beliefs. The latter instruction could actually put parents in legal jeopardy since a part of the test-viewing procedure requires that parents sign a confidentiality agreement promising that they will not divulge the contents of the test to anyone!