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Informed Consent: An Experimental Subject's Bill of Rights

Posted: 2004-03-03

NCLB-mandated testing is a huge experiment, and it should be treated as such. Parents should sign an Informed Consent form before a school can test their children. And informed consent should mean just that.

When people participate in drug trials, they must be informed of the risks. Since the massive testing undertaken by NCLB cannot be viewed other than one big experiment, an Informed Consent from parents is in order. See below.

Schools can't give a child an aspirin without parent consent. Why should they be able to administer a test that traumatizes the child, affects a child's future education, causes fear, palpitations, nausea, and further trauma--without parental consent? Informed consent.

The Informed Consent document below contains the required information as found in and required by the United States regulations regarding the protection of human subject (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 50 ? Protection of Human Subjects).

Experimental Subject's Bill of Rights

  • To be told what the study/experiment is trying to find out.

  • To be told what will be done to my child and whether any of the procedures, tests, or test consequences are different from what informed professionals consider best practice.

  • To be told about the frequent and/or important risks, side effects, or discomforts that will happen to my child for research purposes.

  • To be told if my child can expect any benefit from participating and, if so, what the benefit might be.

  • To be provided with other choices for my child and how they may be better or worse than participation in the NCLB experimentation.

  • To be allowed to ask questions about the NCLB experiment, both before agreeing to volunteer and during the study. And for educators to be allowed to answer freely and without fear of penalty.

  • To be told what kind of education alternatives if my child has problems with the NCLB-mandated experimentation.

  • To refuse to participate at all or to change my mind about participating after the testing is started. This decision will not affect my child's right to receive the education equal to or better than he would receive if he were participating in this NCLB experimentation.

  • To receive a copy of the consent form.

  • To be free of pressure when deciding whether I wish to agree to all my child to participate in the experimentation.

  • Of course, along with the Consent Form, districts need an Institutional Review Board (IRB). This is a committee that reviews, approves, and does continuing review of research involving human subjects. The primary purpose of such review is to guarantee the protection of the rights and welfare of the human subjects. And who needs this more than schoolchildren?

    What does an IRB mean to you?

    The purpose of the IRB is to inform and protect human subject through the information provided in the informed consent document. Therefore, the IRB is acting as a supporter for the research subject. This means that the IRB, during its review of the informed consent document, has the right and responsibility to ensure that the research subjects is fully informed of the procedures involved in the study as well as the risks and other educational options that are available if participation in the study is refused.

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