From the Washington Post's The Answer Sheet, the policy of "sit and stare." Districts and schools are allowing students to opt out but only if they sit still for the entire duration of the test. No reading, no homework, no headphones. I'm surprised they don't make them just sit in a corner and face the wall.
“Sit and stare” policies are being considered or adopted in schools from New York to California as a reaction to the growing “opt out” movement in which parents have decided that they do not want their children to have to take high-stakes standardized tests. Each state has its own policy about opting out, but they don’t generally provide districts with guidance about how to enforce it, so administrators come up with their own policies.
As the number of parents opting out grows, so do the ways that school administrators are trying to persuade them not to, often out of concern that their schools will be penalized by federal education rules that require annual standardized testing by most of the students who attend each campus.
In a previous thread, I wrote about a mom in Denver who had been very specific about opting her daughter out only to later find her - a 3rd grader - sitting in an office with a test administrator and other staff.
Chalkbeat Colorado reported that this week — in the middle of state assessments — Denver Public Schools issued new guidelines for schools to handle opt-out cases after an incident in which one mom dropped her daughter off at school after a standardized test had been given but the student was not allowed to return to her regular class. The new guidelines allow students who have opted out from tests to come to school during the exam and work in another class.
I have written about how when I opted my sons out of the WASL, they were sent to the library and either helped the librarian with tasks, read or did homework. Apparently some administrators are playing hardball if parents ask about this option (this from a superintendent in Buffalo):
Mothers were asking for kids not taking the test at all to be able to go to the library or principal’s office (to read). That is not something we’re going to do. We’re obligated to give every student the test per the state education commissioner.”
Meanwhile in Chicago, parents were upset to learn what was happening to their children who opted out. This from the Chicago Sun-Times:
Furious Bucktown elementary school parents said CPS investigators yanked their children out of classrooms Thursday for individual interviews about this month’s ISAT boycott — without parental permission.
“I was absolutely furious and I really still am,” said a parent who asked not to be named whose daughter was interrogated. “It’s really scary now that I know the power they have. . . . It’s like Russia, there’s no accountabilty for the powers that be.” The parent said the investigator asked her daughter if her teacher, one of four at Drummond who CPS might punish for refusing to administer the state-mandated exams, tried to influence her not to take the test.
Her daughter is now suffering anxiety she may have mistakenly said something that could get her teacher fired. “I am so sad because I think I’m going to get him fired,” she told her mother.
Several of the children told teachers after the interrogations that several questions were followed up by: “Are you sure? Are you lying?” according to Tricia Black, a teacher at Drummond who took part in the boycott of the test, which is being phased out next year and which many parents and teachers see as gratuitous.
So it's trying to get a teacher in trouble by intimidating a young child.
“My third-grade student was interrogated by herself in the principal’s office with the door closed. Which surprised me that you would take a child of that age and close the door to the office with someone that you don’t know . . . I don’t know if it’s legal or not, but it’s certainly unethical.”
Parents said they had no warning and only learned of the interviews when word spread Thursday on Facebook. CPS declined to say why notice wasn’t given.
It wasn’t until parents picked their children up from school, though, that they knew for sure the kids were being questioned about the ISAT, or Illinois Standards Achievement Test.
When did going to public school mean you gave up your rights as a parent to know what is being said and done to your child especially around something asked for by a parent?