School district to mother: No Common Core opt-outs, let us humiliate your kids

Robby Soave Reporter
Font Size:

An Ohio school district told a worried parent that she wasn’t allowed to opt-out of Common Core testing for her kids–and then it forced the kids to be weighed and measured as part of body mass index testing.

The angry mother, Sarah Lewis, said her request to opt her kids out of any school-sponsored Common Core testing was vigorously rejected by Celina City Schools Superintendent Jesse Steiner, according to The Heartland Institute.

“[O]n the recommendation of legal counsel, I am rejecting your request for your child to ‘Opt Out’ of any and all testing,” wrote Steiner in an email to Lewis. “Your child will be expected to follow the same educational procedures as the rest of the student body.”

Lewis opposes implementation of the Common Core standards, a controversial set of curriculum guidelines and standardized testing currently being implemented in most states. (RELATED: This Common Core math problem asks kids to write the ‘friendly’ answer, instead of the correct one!)

She also didn’t want her two children to take part in health fitness tests, believing that that information should remain private.

On Steiner’s orders, Lewis’s children were pulled out of class so that school officials could belatedly administer the BMI testing.

“They were singled out and weighed and measured,” said Lewis. “They were humiliated.”

Lewis said her nine-year-old daughter had taken the BMI test the year before, and had been told that she was overweight.

“This is a nine-year-old girl that is already uncomfortable with her body as it starts to change and you hand her a paper that says ‘you need to exercise more’ while you serve hot dogs in the school cafeteria—are you kidding me?” said Lewis.

She wanted to spare her daughter such embarrassment this year, but the district told her she had no choice.

Lewis believes her opposition to Common Core made her children political targets. (RELATED: Poll wants to convince you that you actually like Common Core)

Steiner did not respond to a request for comment.

Joy Pullman, a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News, told The Daily Caller that opting out of state testing is consistent with Ohio law. The superintendent’s actions, however, speak to Common Core’s “inherently coercive nature.”

“The big concern is school administrators forcing parents and children to do something they don’t want to do, especially when state law sets families free to make those choices,” she told TheDC. “The administrators are afraid, and in their fear they are clamping down on families. The fact that opposition to Common Core makes school officials afraid should raise eyebrows over its inherently coercive nature. If open debate is being stifled in, of all places, America, that’s a massive red flag.”

Common Core is making students, parents and teachers across the country nervous. Heavy opposition from both conservative and liberal activists recently led Indiana to put the brakes on its implementation of the standards. Political battles over the future of Common Core are currently being fought in a number of other states as well. (RELATED: Is this week the beginning of the end for Common Core?)

The Obama administration, as well as many Republican governors and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, remain ardent supporters.

Follow Robby on Twitter