Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Opt-Out of Standardized Testing Movement Gains Steam

Parents across the country are legally opting their children out of public school standardized testing.  Not only is it their right to do so but it may be the last vestige of voting with  your feet that American parents can exercise for their children.

About a month ago, Slate Magazine published I Opted My Kids Out of Standardized Testing and it documents the kind of fear government has put into public education in the name of "reform". It's written by Lisa T. McElroy, an associate professor of law at the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law.
" decision to opt my kids out might have no real effect at all here in Colorado, but on the other hand if I support friends in other states in opting their kids out, I might cause teachers to be downgraded and schools to lose funding. How does any parent weigh those very real consequences against her commitment to doing what’s best for her kids? As my friend Maria McKenna, the senior associate director of the education, schooling, and society program at the University of Notre Dame, said to me last night, “It renders parents powerless when we hear about the crushing impact that opting out has on teachers and schools. But of course, teachers and administrators are powerless, too. It’s insidious.” Do I stand on my principles, both personal and political? Or do I put the interests of the very important people and institutions that educate my children above those of my kids? And how can I help ensure that more parents, teachers, administrators, and, yes, policymakers recognize the craziness that is our “accountability above all else” mentality?"
Here in Connecticut, the Courant reports [Some Parents Say No...] that parents in Connecticut too are choosing to opt their children out of the Smarter Balance testing;

"Deborah Stevenson, an attorney who works with a group that is calling for legislation to ensure the right of parents to have their children opt out of the test, said current law does not address the issue. In addition, the law does not provide any penalties for parents – or children – who refuse the test.
The situation leads to confusion, Stevenson said, as does, she noted, a December state Department of Education memo that suggests that school officials tell parents who don't want their child tested that there is no provision for this under state and federal law.
But then, the memo says that if a parent insists that child not be tested, districts "generally" do not test the student and the student is counted as absent for purposes of testing.
"The mass confusion is coming directly from the state Department of Education. They are giving two different messages," Stevenson said.
But Kelly Donnelly, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said this month the matter should be clear: both state and federal laws require public school students to take the annual state assessment in certain grades and subjects.
Donnelly also noted that if a school or district has a participation rate that is less than 95 percent, it could lower its performance rating."
This testing has little to do with accurately testing individual children to improve the quality of education.  This is the Bush/Obama education policy that wants to crush public education and enforce with a steel fist the mandate that every child MUST TEST AS IF THEY WERE  EQUAL IN MATURITY, INTELLECT, INTEREST, AND CALLING.

The lunatics in Washington believe *THIS ABSOLUTE CONTROL* over each and every school, teacher, and student will hold education accountable and somehow narrow any imaginary education gap that they themselves have manufactured through social policy.

A Nebraska mother reported in The Journal Star by Margaret Reist exposes the game,
"Jill Osler is taking a stand.
The Doniphan mother of two has decided her elementary-aged son and daughter will not take statewide tests in reading, math and science this year.
She made the decision, she said, because she doesn’t like what the high-stakes tests do to students, teachers and administrators. They are, she's concluded, about politics, not learning.
Over the past year or so she’s contacted state education officials and senators, trying to start a conversation.
“I felt it is not best for kids and teachers," Osler said. "I’m adamant it’s not a teaching tool, it’s a political assessment. It’s used to rank, rate schools, and I just wanted to question what good is this doing for our kids and our education system?”
The decision to have her children opt out of the statewide tests is an unusual move in Nebraska, but on the national level, an opt-out movement is gaining traction.
A growing number of parents in several states -- Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut and New York among them -- are choosing not to have their children take standardized tests.
In Nebraska, the state education department allows parents to make a formal request to their local districts to opt their students out.
In some other states, such requests are gaining steam. A Facebook page called “Long Island opt-out info” has more than 16,000 members, and an advocacy group called “Change the Stakes” estimates up to 1,000 students in New York City will not take the English test this month. The group also reported that nearly 80 percent of students at a Brooklyn school -- over 200 of them -- would opt out."

Needless to say, the Obama administration and every single one of his minions can't be voted out of office soon enough.