Friday, March 06, 2015

Seattle Schools: Getting a Little Worried about Opt-Outs?

The district sent out this robocall today about SBAC assessments.  They pack a lot into a short bit.

(Yes, they probably used the word "assessments" probably because "testing" has a bad ring to it.)

They also say "the state requires assessments..." when REALLY what they should say is that "the state requires the DISTRICT to give assessments"- not that all students have to take them. 

But maybe that's more information than the district wants parents to know.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

They are so worried about the opt-outs that they are calling them refusers on the website info.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Parents, please know that you don't have to use the opt out form that the district is directing you to. You can HANDWRITE A LETTER SAYING YOU DON'T WANT YOUR CHILD TO TAKE ANY AND ALL TESTS. It is your legal right. It can be short and sweet, on a post-it, even. They are trying to intimidate us--question their motives, their gestures.

YOU CAN EVEN OPT OUT VERBALLY. YES, VERBALLY. IT IS IN THE OSPI PROTOCOL FOR REFUSING STATE TESTS.

Questions? Come to the Southwest Library on March 12 at 6pm to have them answered! We will have SPS teachers, opt out forms and a professor of education on hand to help you. If we can't assist you, we will figure out who can.

There are more of us than them. Our votes and our voices matter--use both!

--In Solidarity

Anonymous said...

So essentially you're saying that parents who speak English and read education blogs should opt their children out but everyone else's kid should take the test? Am I reading that right?

-Teacher in favor of rigor

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teacher, who are you addressing your question to? I'm confused.

Also, no multiple word names so next time your comment will be deleted. This is explained in our policy about comments.

Anonymous said...

@ Teacher, no the advocacy isn't for "parents who speak English and read education blogs" to opt out their children.

The advocacy is for all parents to opt out their children. And then to get this city off the test prep train and then to get the state to get rid of the SBAC.

BTW, there are more teachers who agree with me than agree with you.

"Bam!"

Anonymous said...

My question was about the line: not that *all students need to take them.

Cheers,
Teacher

Anonymous said...

And Bam, I'm unaware of any study that justifies your claim that there are more teachers who disagree with me... Disagree about rigor? About SBAC? Curious.

Cheers,
Teacher

Ann D said...

I believe I read somewhere that Washington State had implemented state testing before No Child Left Behind changes were made to the ESEA. One of the current drivers for assessments of public school student however IS the Federal Government, in accordance with the last version of the ESEA (which expired in 2007 btw).

I wrote to the school board to say I supported the motion to discuss a moratorium on the SBAC and got a reply that it was state required. I looked to the State website for OSPI and see this range of reasons for testing:

http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/

So which is it? State? Feds? Both?

My Plan said...

Instead of the drama associated with optig-out- I've decided just to keep my child home. We'll have a great time together!

Anonymous said...

My plan, your plan is faulty. They will just test your kid on the make-up day.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Teacher,

The momentum against these tests is rising exponentiality. The movement includes teachers, parents and even administrators. Google it. This blog is also full of links, including the one I referenced on another thread from a highly regarded principal. Asking a reader to show you the statistics misses this larger point.

Rigor results from having the the time, teaching skills and resources to educate students. This test takes valuable resources from the classroom, uses up precious learning time and makes teachers focus too much on the test.

It also makes me wonder if you are recently joining this blog conversation because you feel the momentum in the district shifting, and your "side" is getting nervous.
That might include Teachers United (Gates' financed pseudo-union run by an inactive teacher) or not. Just speculating.

BTW, I'm also a teacher (though not a "Teacher").

--enough already

Anonymous said...

@ Teacher: Disagree about SBAC of course. Not about rigor. It's a ridiculous tactic belonging to an imperious and short-sighted type of teacher, administrator and politician to equate classroom quality teaching with belief in this misguided test.

"Bam!"

Anonymous said...

I am going to try to make the opt out event at the Southwest Library - thanks for the heads up. Mostly I am terribly confused about the need for an 8th grader to take either the EOC or SBAC if he is enrolled in Algebra this year? From the OSPI website, it seems that the class of 2019 would need to pass the math SBAC for graduation requirements (11th grade) and the EOC is being phased out? Am I reading that right? Yet his school wants him to take both this year. Is that so he can get high school credit for the course? It's about as clear as mud to me.

Moose

Anonymous said...

We have been told math EOCs won't be administered to middle school students this year as they won't count toward graduation testing requirements for their graduating years. My understanding was that OSPI would not provide math EOCs for middle school students. Has this changed, or is the school simply uninformed?

-confused

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher, not a "teacher"? Seriously? Where's the respect for opposing viewpoints? It would never occur to me to sink that low regarding a person's viewpoints about testing.

Teacher

Anonymous said...

Teacher,

Equating the opt-out position as an avoidance of rigor, doing a Perry Mason on a reader about statistics rather than acknowledging the larger point, and, yes, using a capital T for teacher all prompted a needed rebuttal from another teacher.

You don't represent all teachers and neither do I. Your postings seemed to be indicating otherwise.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is whether 4th grade SBAC scores are going to be used for 6th grade math placement. Currently it is based on 4th grade MSP and 5th grade MAP. The 4th graders this year will be doing SBAC instead of MSP but no word on implications of this - i.e. what score would they use/ will they be valid anyway.
It wouldn't surprise me if SPS hasn't even thought of this - they'll just make something up after the fact - like they did a couple of years ago when they announced they would use MSP and MAP scores for placement AFTER everyone has done the tests (many kids don't put much effort in MAP but would if they think it would count for something). So opt out or not? Risk not having scores for math placement or risk having SBAC scores that are too poor for appropriate math place but don't reflect kids actual ability anyway because of the stupid test design?

on the fence

Maureen said...

How are private school or out of state students placed in 6th grade math? They must have an alternative if your kid skips the SBAC.

n said...

When you put too much pressure onto or into anything, something breaks. Children? Teachers? The system? Why can't people see that just demanding more through increased testing doesn't solve the problem? Rigor? At our school, we have students hating school so much they don't want to come. We are elementary but young children hating school isn't natural. I know not all kids love school but crying to stay home? Yes, that's happening at my school.

Learning in today's complex survival mode is tough and we need many resources and remedies to address it. Additional testing isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

Moose. EOC for middle schoolers will count for absolutely nothing. Your kid will have to take the SBAC in high school to graduate. Hope they have a good memory. They'll be test in 3 years on what they're learning now. But hey, the EOC won't hurt them either! Right? So many teachers love tests now, that they can't bear to have a middle school course without a standardized test. Sorta proves they did a good job. So go ahead. Make their day. Who knows. OSPI may even publish the results on your school's report card.

Doit

mirmac1 said...

Unfortunately, it appears there was not the will to begin an immediate discussion on the merits of SBAC testing in C&I. It appears on their future workplan - after this year's round of testing.

Parents had best be thinking about how to gain leverage on this issue or just hang back and be bystanders as your children get burned out on stressful, unhelpful testing.

Anonymous said...

Are you not allowed to use the words "opt out" in your letter? One principal is making someone re-write their letter using the word "refuse." Doesn't seem ethical when the SPS website doesn't mandate what words must be used, just says it must be put into writing, dated and signed.