From Diane Ravitch's column (this is a parent who wrote to Seattle Opt Out:
This spring the SBA was rolled out in grades 3-8, 10 and 11. We
were delighted to learn that there were many opt outs across the Seattle
School District, as well as in every corner of the State. We formed the
Seattle Opt Out Group in Dec. 2014 and have worked tirelessly in the
first half of 2015 to inform parents about opting out and the problems
that high stakes standardized tests bring with them. We plan to continue
our efforts in earnest over the summer and into the next school year.
Yesterday, however, we learned of an event that has us quite
alarmed, and we want to proceed in as informed a manner as possible.
Apparently at a Seattle middle school the principal forbade
students who opted out of the SBA to attend a year-end school carnival
A parent reached out to us and sent us this note:
Here is my daughter’s experience with being excluded from the Denny Carnival last Friday.
During the last period of the day, my daughter was
summoned to the vice principal’s office. She waited for about twenty
minutes and was then invited into the office. The vice principal
informed my daughter that two of her teachers had emailed her earlier in
the day to inquire why she was not on the approved list for the
carnival because she had outstanding effort grades(all A’s in effort as
well as academics). The vice principal then informed my daughter that
she may be able to write a letter of appeal, but she would let her know
if that was possible by the end of the period. She explained that she
had to follow the rules which were that only students excused from the
SBAC for medical reasons would be allowed to attend the carnival.
Students who opted out would not be allowed to go because they did not
follow the rules.
My daughter then returned to her classroom to wait. Her
teacher read a list of students who were allowed to go to the carnival
and she was not on the list. She was then sent to a another teacher’s
room to do homework with the other students who weren’t eligible, mostly
due to behavior infractions. After 30 minutes, she was informed that
she could write a letter of appeal.
My daughter was very upset and disappointed, but she knew that her teachers supported her and that this was just an unfair rule.
We would appreciate any guidance as to how we should
proceed. It has been suggested that this is a case of the principal
violating student discipline policy. Have you heard of a punitive
measure such as this occurring elsewhere in the country and, if so, can
you describe to us the route of action that was taken? Any advice is
welcomed by us!
One of Ravitch's readers said this:
Did other kids opt out? Did they get banned from the carnival? Then have
a celebration with them. Let the superintendent know what you did. Let
the media know what happened. Let other parents know. But stay true and
logically consistent with your beliefs and actions. In fact, the
teachers ought to excuse themselves from the carnival as best they can.
With some discussion, I suspect some students would agree to stand with
their excluded friends.
Readers, what would be the best course of action? For me, I would never take it silently because, of course, that's what Principal Clark wants. He wants parents and kids to feel bad and vow never to opt out again. And that students who were excluded tell OTHER students and by next year, the word will be out and he's hoping fewer students opt out.
Except maybe, as the writer above says, more students may choose NOT go to the carnival in support of friends who are excluded. Or students who do go to the carnival wear shirts saying, "Just say no to bullying."
Because honestly, that's what this is. It's not about good or bad behavior - it's about trying to get your way. And again, the parents did nothing illegal, either by federal or state
law. Until opting out is stated to be against district policy, they
also did nothing wrong on the district front either.
Principal Clark thinks this is wrong. That's his opinion. Apparently, he gets to run the school on his opinion which I think is wrong. He should run it based on district policies and state/federal regulations.
The idea that there are "consequences" to opting out is wrong. The
"consequence" is that the student/parents and school don't have a score
for that kid. I'm pretty sure, though, that the kid's teachers could
accurately convey how that student is doing.