Just days after a lawsuit was filed alleging a California school district was violating the law by failing to tell parents of their Common Core opt-out rights, the same claim has been leveled against a neighboring district.
The first action was brought by the Pacific Justice Institute on behalf of Concerned Parents of California against the Walnut Valley Unified School District.
When the suit was filed, PJI attorney Michael Peffer said: “Just like everyone else, school districts must follow the law. They may not agree with it, but they cannot ignore it. The statutes and regulations in this area are clear and unambiguous. The district doesn’t get to pick and choose which rules it will follow.”
Now, Pacific Justice is representing another school district, Conejo Valley Unified School District, northwest of Los Angeles.
The organization has filed documents with the court showing that CVUSD “did not comply with California law requiring it to tell parents that they could opt their children out of the controversial common core testing.”
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, said of the new case: “School districts cannot keep parents in the dark about their rights to opt their children out of common core testing. If school districts think they can get away with violating these clear requirements, they are greatly mistaken.”
Peffer explained the California Education Code and Code of Regulations “grant parents a number of important rights that serve as checks and balances to the educational bureaucracy.”
“When these rights are ignored, the system is out of balance. This lawsuit aims to restore parental choice, increase transparency, and challenge the status quo,” he said.
The Common Core program has been controversial nationwide.
“You think the math standards are bad, what will happen once the federal government starts setting the standards for how American history is taught to our kids?” he demanded at one point. “Under the Obama administration, the instruction would not be about American exceptionalism; it would be all about how the United States causes victimization.”
The Common Core State Standards program, which is being discontinued in some states already, revealed recently that only 44 percent of California students met the standards in English, and only 1 student in 3 in math.
“As we’ve just been reminded, the implementation of Common Core continues to be a disaster, and many parents want no part of it,” said Dacus. “Parents have the right and responsibility to do what is in their children’s best interests, and California school districts have the legal obligation to make sure parents know their options.”
The lawsuits, in Superior Court in Los Angeles, explain K-12 schools “are required to apprise parents and guardians of their right under the law to request that their child be excused from statewide assessment testing.”
But the notices from schools to parents about the 2015 tests uniformly failed to mention the requirement.
The omission, the case explains, deprived “petitioner and its members of their rights to have legal notice that their children may be excused.”
Pacific Justice said it previously confronted Calabasas High School officials after one manager threatened to punish students who didn’t participate.
In that case, the legal team said, the principal tried “to punish incoming seniors with loss of parking and other privileges for exercising their rights.”
There, Principal C.J. Foss had sent a notice to parents saying, “Senior activities, parking, and off-campus passes require students to have participated in the CAASP testing.”
The school reversed course after receiving a demand letter from PJI.