“To me, opt out is admitting failure,” said Jaques. “[It’s] saying, oh, I can’t measure up. I’m not good enough to be able to take this test. I can’t pass that test. That’s not the American way.”
Yes, this was said by an elected official yesterday. This was said by a man who has never been a teacher, but serves as the Chair of the House Education Committee. As a special needs parent, I was deeply offended by Jaques’ comments. Usually, I take this education stuff with a grain of salt. I may get upset, but it doesn’t hit on a personal level. Mr. Jaques changed all that, because after someone else posted about Jaques calling his own son a failure, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I decided almost a year ago my son would not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I publicly wrote a letter to the editor in The State News five months ago opting him out. So in terms of my own son, I haven’t even entertained the notion of him taking this monstrosity of a test in a long time. For all my talk about opt out, it is truly for the rest of Delaware that I am reaching out to. Earl Jaques changed that.
Another parent shared with me her email to Earl Jaques. She gave an okay to publish it, but out of respect for her, I will not put her last name in it.
Today, I learned of your comments regarding parents who choose to not permit their children to participate in Smarter assessments. My first source was a blog, so I tried to convince myself that the reporting was biased or untrue. Not because I don’t trust the blogger in question, but because I did not want to believe that an elected public official would be so dismissive of parents. Unfortunately, I was wrong and the blogs were right. Unless, of course, you want to deny what you said and was reported in mainstream media.
How. Dare. You.
How dare you imply that parents who exercise their rights are not good Americans? Isn’t that what being American is about – knowing your rights as an individual and making choices based on that information?
How dare you be so condescending and dismissive of the community that elected you to the public office you hold? Your arrogance is utterly overwhelming.
How dare you classify children who do not participate in a test that is no more than a giant money grab that has the added benefit of labeling and punishing professional educators as failures? You can’t possibly be that out of touch with reality.
Let me give credit where it is due. Part of your quote is correct. Opting out IS admitting failure. But that is where your accuracy ends. This isn’t about the failure of students, parents, or teachers. It is about the failure of the Smarter Balance assessment to be a valuable tool to measure sound, research-based standards and provide meaningful information for teachers.
Don’t you ever again dare to claim my children are failures or don’t measure up because I made a decision that I believe to be good for them. Ever again. And not just my children, but the children of every parent who has made the same choice that I have to not have their children participate in the testing this season. You don’t have the right.
You owe the community an apology. And your resignation.
I am also calling on Earl Jaques’ resignation. This is absolutely the worst thing a parent can hear right now. It shows a true disconnect with the people you were elected to serve. You don’t serve Jack Markell, or the big bad power movers in the corporate education reform movement. You serve the people of Delaware. You have no right to judge any child or parent in this state. Here’s the facts Earl: my son would probably do okay on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He is very smart and very intelligent. He did great on DCAS last year. But this test, this very big test, is not designed to give students a better education. It is designed to tear students down, to feel frustrated, to give data to power brokers who will make money off my son. I don’t want to hear about any of the excuses people give about what this test will do. I’ve seen it. It’s confusing and manipulative. It has high-stakes, and any test that has this much controversy cannot be good. So do us all a favor, don’t keep talking. Just resign, and go in peace. And please apologize to us all on your way out.
If you would like to email Earl Jaques with your thoughts on this matter, please do so at email@example.com
The above quote came from this article: