Delaware PTA Kent County Parent Opt Out Town Hall on Tuesday, March 3rd, 5:30pm, Dover Library

You have to register to get in on this, and I don’t know how many slots are left.  You can register at: http://www.123contactform.com/form-1131334/Parent-Opt-Out-Town-Hall

If this is anything like the Newcastle one a couple weeks ago, expect a lot of emotion in the air.  I’m not saying to yell and scream.  Parents and teachers (who are also parents) will be very upset about some of the answers given to them by the Delaware Department of Education.  But understand they have their own agendas, and ahem, interpretations of the law in the state they reside in.  As well, the Federal law clearly states schools can not opt out children.  But NOTHING about parents.

Many have asked me how school choice plays a role in this, and if students will be penalized if they attempt to choice next year and they had opted out.  I plan on calling ALL the districts and charters to get answers on this.  I would think the same constitutional rights for a parent opting their child out could not be used against a student.  I think the districts and charters would be very foolhardy to open themselves up to potential litigation in that area.

Please come, even if you don’t want to opt your child out.  Maybe this meeting will convince you, maybe it won’t.  But at least consider your options.

 

Opt Out Week In Delaware Begins…NOW!

The Smarter Balanced Assessment starts in ten days.  I would get your opt out letter in by Friday, March 6th.  Most of the schools don’t want this test, so this will give them the time they need to plan.  They need to know who is taking the test, and hopefully what to do with the students who aren’t.  Many, many parents have already opted their children out.  Many have emailed me, or reached out on Facebook with questions or concerns.  I sincerely hope I’ve been able to answer them to the best of my ability.  At the end of the day, it is YOUR decision.  I can give guidance, or suggestions, but it is you determining what is best for YOUR child.

This little movement in Delaware has come a long way since I started this blog.  If you had told me two months ago the News Journal would have a cover story on opt out or the President of the Delaware PTA would give me an exclusive statement on behalf of the PTA endorsing a parent’s choice to opt out, I would have said you were crazy.  But obviously I am no longer a lone wolf crying out in the dark.

I started this adventure in blogging over on Kilroy’s Delaware by writing a rather long series of articles called “A Father’s Cry For His Son”.  Kilroy picked the title, and I admire him for that.  I still cry for my son, but I am happy to see “Parents Crying For Their Children” and “Teachers Crying For Their Students” and “Citizens Crying For Their Schools”.  Not because I want anyone to cry, but because the very act of doing so is using your voice for something that means more than any standardized test score.  Every single opt out, every public comment, every letter to the editor…it makes a difference.  It collectively adds up to a point where it can’t be ignored.

When I look at what New Jersey has done with this movement, I am left with a feeling of awe and a bit of jealousy.  Two years ago, Governor Chris Christie said Common Core and standardized testing was here to stay.  Now he is in Iowa saying “we might want to rethink this”.  Parents have spoken with their voice, loud enough for everyone in the tri-state area to see and hear it, through commercials that many in Delaware have seen.

Some of our legislators in the First State are championing the cause as well.  For these legislators, this is them sticking their neck out for you the people.  They believe their cause is just, but it puts them in an awkward position.  I’ve heard from quite a few of them, and not the ones you would expect, that Jack Markell is a dictator in Delaware, and if you cross him, good luck getting any bill passed.  And God forbid if you interfere with his education agenda.  But many of them no longer hear the roar of a lion, but the quack of a lame-duck.

Rumors are circulating about big changes at the Delaware DOE, Red Clay, Christina and Wilmington.  The charter lobby is going to attempt a huge comeback, but they seem to have forgotten a few things, such as a potential huge issue with segregation and the ACLU, Delaware Community Legal Aid, and the Office of Civil Rights at the US DOE.  The fact there are no new charter schools scheduled for the 2016-2017 school year has hit them hard.  They aren’t talking about it, but I’ve heard from a few in that crowd it was a mighty blow.  Rodel is going to be pushing their personalized learning initiatives very hard very soon.  They have been quiet lately, but don’t think that means they are gone.  They are just…planning…and plotting.

The priority school news has slowed down considerably since the Wilmington Education Committee came out with their recommendations for schools in Wilmington.  The big bad DOE deadline of February 27th has come and gone with nary a whisper about the deadline passing.  If the DOE was going to do something, they would have pulled the gun out of their holster on 2/27.  They did not.  Which means something will be announced shortly, probably stemming from the invitation to meet with the DOE in the “deadline” letter.

These are all examples of what we hear in the media about education in Delaware.  But at the end of the day, it’s you and your child.  Your home.  While is it your choice to opt your child out, I implore you to at least consider it if you haven’t.  The benefits of opting out far outweigh the consequences of your child taking this test.  Do the research.  Read up on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Google “Smarter Balanced Assessment” and “controversy” and read what comes up.  Most of the states involved with Smarter Balanced dropped out of the consortium.  They didn’t do that because they felt like it.  They did it because it is a bad test and it costs A LOT of money.  But what it costs more is the education of your child.  Have you noticed a difference in your children when they come home from school?  Does a sense of wonder and innocence seem to be replaced with a look you can’t quite figure out?  That is the look most students getting ready for this test have given their parents after a long day at school.  The joy and curiosity is being sucked out of them.  They are being drilled for this test.  The schools are horrified but they have no choice but to comply.  WE as parents have the power to change this.  WE have all the power.  THEY only have the power we allow them to have.  WE can make a difference.  Friday March 6th.  Make your decision by then.

My son is not taking this test.  Ever.

If this is your first time coming to Exceptional Delaware, please read up on opt out by going to this page: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/parent-opt-out-links/