House Bill 425 encourages the State Board of Education to implement assessment opt-out procedures and encourages the allowance of paper-and-pencil formats for such assessments. First, as I stated in my veto of SB 133 last year, local school districts currently have the flexibility to determine opt-out procedures for students who cannot, or choose not to, take these statewide assessments and I see no need to impose an additional layer of state-level procedures for these students. Additionally, encouraging the administration of assessments in paper-and-pencil format impedes the state's priorities of returning test data to districts as quickly as possible, and reducing the opportunity for cheating. For the foregoing reasons, I hereby VETO HB 425.
Meg Norris, founder of Opt Out Georgia, said while parents have always had the right to opt out, that right is not made clear to them.
"Districts are unaware of all this 'policy' the Governor's Office continues to claim. If they understood it, we wouldn't have to keep writing bills. Instead they bully and threaten and punish and hurt children for their parents choice to not participate in an invalid test that is designed not to give teachers information, but to justify the governor's new retirement plan, private charter schools," she said in a statement.