Update: some common sense from one of my favorite education writers, Jersey Jazzman, and his "The PARCC Silly Season.
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It's just hard to know where to start.
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It's just hard to know where to start.
First, the new thought from ed reformers is that parents just don't understand what they are doing when they opt their children out. Thanks for patronizing them as if they are not thinking adults. There are also new pro-testing groups springing up and many of them are funded by the Gates Foundation. It's the same thing, over and over, with the Foundation. Create faux parent groups, data use groups and even media groups.
- You'll hurt your school/district if you don't test. Your child isn't in school for anyone's data point. Also, despite the 95% performance rate for federal funds, there has not been a district or state punished for falling below this rate. It would appear to be a lot of saber-rattling because the feds know who they would hurt - at-risk, minority children.
- It's just "white suburban parents" who are just doing this on a whim and hurting minority students. Or, it may be that questioning these tests may have just started in one area and is spreading. From Carol Burris writing in the Washington Post:
There is also evidence that the Opt Out movement is gaining ground with parents of color, with many no longer willing to buy the spin that taking Common Core tests will improve their children’s life chances.
Ninety-seven percent of the more than 1,000 students who attend Westbury Middle School in Nassau County are black or Latino, and 81 percent are economically disadvantaged. On Tuesday, 50 percent of those students were opted out of the tests by their parents. Last year, the number was 2 percent.
- As a parent, you won't know how your child is doing. Again, if you believe in your child's teacher, you will know how your child is doing, sooner and in more detail.
From Diane Ravitch:
The Maryland State Board of Education voted to make PARCC the state’s high school graduation test. The passing score now will be a 3 on a scale of 1-5, but it will rise to a 4 in four years.
Meanwhile the State Commissioner of Education on Rhode Island, Ken Wagner, decided to drop PARCC as a graduation requirement because he knew the failure rate would be staggering. He said he didn’t want to penalize students for the system’s “failure to get them to high standards.
Nobody mentioned that PARCC’s passing score is absurdly high and will never be reached by about half of all students.You do realize that as more and more students don't pass these tests that ed reformers will cry out how terrible traditional schools are and we need more charter schools or vouchers, right? Make traditional schools look as bad as you can (see Mayor Emanuel in Chicago) and you can even close them.
From the Washington Post on the latest NAEP scores (not good):
The nation’s high school seniors have shown no improvement in reading achievement and their math performance has slipped since 2013, according to the results of a test administered by the federal government last year.
The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, also show a longer-term stagnation in 12th-grade performance in U.S. public and private schools: Scores on the 2015 reading test have dropped five points since 1992, the earliest year with comparable scores, and are unchanged in math during the past decade.
Eighty-two percent of high school seniors graduated on time in 2014, but the 2015 test results suggest that just 37 percent of seniors are academically prepared for college coursework in math and reading — meaning many seniors would have to take remedial classes if going on to college.
Results for fourth- and eighth-graders on the 2015 tests were announced in October. Like high school seniors, the younger students demonstrated lower performance in math compared with 2013. Reading performance dropped for eighth-graders and was flat for fourth-graders.From Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, some pretty disturbing news from members around the country.
In California, a parent reports that the principal wants to meet one-on-one with every student who is not taking the SBAC. The parent asks if she should allow it or if it is even legal? Most of us say it is legal to talk to the child without the parent. However, why didn't the principal tell parents; it seems like an intimidation measure.
The admin told the child, when turning in the form, that a meeting with the principal was REQUIRED to opt out.
Again, I wouldn't allow my child to take any "clinical" survey that I had not viewed. And coloring for days on end? Well, it's not the worst thing you could do to a high school student but it is baffling why administrators wouldn't want those kids working on assignments or reading.Last time I heard of this, the Principal pulled the student out of a class the next day and had the child sent to a data room where the child was directed to take the "www.PearsonClinical.com" evaluation to provide a personality profile.Why? Because said they were unchallenged in a 15 hour coloring assignment in 9th grade English and sought a more challenging curriculum.
Yet another parent chimed in with a story (also in California):
Suggestions from a New York parent:On a brighter note, I was called into a top administrator's office at the district yesterday after he read my interview with the students at one high school who started an opt out campaign there.He told me that he contacted the legal department and is working with the principal's boss (we have lots of layers in our huge district) to make sure she knows what she can and cannot do. He said she will certainly be instructed to stop denying students letters of recommendation because they opt out. He also said "we're helping her engage those students. They're learning about democracy, after all". Of course, this does not address the tests, but I was pleased with his approach.
But here in NYS, we rely on U.S. Supreme Court cases that discuss the parent's right to rear and raise and educate a child. I also quote a case from the NY Court of Appeals that pretty much says it's a parent's natural and legal right -- and legal obligation -- to protect the child from governmental harm.
And, when all else fails, I tell parents to force the school/administrator to come up with the law that allows them to do what they are purporting they are allowed to do. To an administrator they fail at this task and then back down.