How To Guide: Host an Opt Out Info Session

 is the time to schedule an opt out info session for your community.  Honestly, folks, it’s a simple thing YOU CAN DO to inform your community about the right to opt out of NYS grades 3-8 testing and why they would want to take that important step.  Here are the steps to take and resources you will need.

1.  Schedule the event.  When and where will you host your info session?  Libraries, churches, community centers, colleges, and restaurants (many will invite you in for free) are all great places to host a session.  You know your community best-where’s the best place to get people together?  Likewise, when is an ideal time to host the event?  There’s definitely not a way to make sure every single person can attend, but take a look at your community calendar and find a night where there’s less likely to be conflicting events.

2.  Advertise.  Make a flyer (I use to invite the public.  Post on social media and then all around town (please be sure we know about your event so we can promote it at Opt Out CNY and via NYSAPE).  Yep-we’re talking about good old fashioned door to door, “May I hang this sign here” type advertising.  It’s also a good idea to create an event on Facebook and directly invite people to attend either via social media or in person.  Lastly, why not email every parent on your child’s class list to invite them?

3.  Speakers.  Yes, YOU CAN SPEAK.  Already, you’re an expert about the opt out movement and surely you know others who are involved in the movement.  Coordinate with other like minded parents, educators and community members and ask a few people to speak with you, or at the very least attend to show support.  I cannot stress enough that YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU are the expert.  The opt out movement in NYS grew to 240,000 because of moms and dads who refused to sit by.  YOU ARE THE NEXT LEADER OF THE OPT OUT MOVEMENT.  

4.  Prepare.  Whatever you decide to share will be perfect.  Speak from your heart.  If you’re looking for information, facts and resource to supplement your own thoughts, check out the links below.

Updated 2015-2016 slide show presentation
Feel free to use any or all of the presentation.  Within the slide show are notes to help you understand the purpose/message of each slide.  There are also links to additional resources.  This resource will be updated periodically as necessary and recommendations for additional slides/clarification/revisions are always welcome.  Email us at

Refusal Letter
This is the link to the Opt Out CNY 2016 refusal letter.  Share paper copies at your info session but also let attendees know that the letter is downloadable and easily customizable.  The link also explains why one may want to opt out of tests in grades K-2.

Step by Step Guide to Opting Out
It’s given in the slide show above, but here’s our website that lists the steps for opting out.  There are more details here that might help you answer parents questions in regards to working with their school district to accommodate test refusal.

A response to some of the most frequently asked questions about opting out.  This is a good sheet to have available for those who attend your event.

Handout: Why Refuse?
This side by side handout is a response to every reason given to support participation in tests.  It has proven to be one of the most useful tools in helping others to reframe reforms to see them for what they truly are: the privatization of our public schools.

5.  Advertise some more.
Seriously.  Advertising your event is key.  The most important step to a successful event is getting people in the room.  Gather the parents and grandparents and your work is easy.  You will not need to “sell” you idea about opting out because once parents are informed, they will understand the importance of opting out.

There is no reason NOT to schedule an event.  Be a part of history and the #GreatOptOutNY.  With action YOU can be a part of the solution, but failing to act means you’re complicit with what’s happening to our children, teachers and schools.  The time is now.  

How To Guide: Host an Opt Out Info Session