Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques Issues An Apology

From his public figure Facebook page:

Recently I made a comment regarding standardized testing in Delaware that was hurtful to some families of children with special needs. For that I am truly sorry.

As a longtime volunteer with Special Olympics Delaware, and the grandfather of a child on the Autism spectrum, I understand the challenges that parents face every day with children who have intellectual disabilities. I have witnessed the extraordinary accomplishments these children achieve and I would never underestimate their abilities. I completely understand that their parents will take the appropriate actions they see fit regarding their education. That is why I co-sponsored SB 229 last year, which allows parents of students with cognitive disabilities to make their own choices when it comes to standardized testing.

I offer my sincere apology to these families and their children.

While I appreciate the apology, I am very torn on what it means.  This wasn’t just a shot against special needs kids, this was against ALL kids who are opted out, and their parents.  His apology doesn’t even offer the words opt out, just standardized testing.

Furthermore, his reference to Senate Bill 229 troubles me.  This bill allows children with severe cognitive disabilities to be opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment to take something called DCAS-Alt.  It is a great bill, don’t get me wrong.  But he also voted yes for House Bill 334, which allowed the Smarter Balanced Assessment into the state code.  As well, he voted yes for Senate Bill 51 which allows for teachers to be evaluated based on standardized test results.  In addition, most special needs children would not even qualify for the alternate assessment.

I still don’t have faith in him as the Chair of the House Education Committee, so my petition will stand, unless he apologizes to ALL students and parents who have gone through the opt out process.  Being American is important to me, and I take it as a slight when I am told I am not being American.  Being American also gives people the ability to make certain choices, so I am exercising that right.  I also think he needs to reach out to more than the Delaware Teachers of the Year to get a gage on this test.  I have to wonder, has Earl Jaques taken the Smarter Balanced Assessment?

As a father of a special needs child, I accept that part of the apology.  But on behalf of ALL the children who are forced to take this test and the lucky ones who have been opted out, none of which are failures, I just can’t.

7 thoughts on “Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques Issues An Apology

  1. I am conflicted. Based on his continued self-aggrandizing sentiment (count 8 “I” s in there) contained within the apology, I am reluctant to accept it as a special needs parent. It just doesn’t seem sincere to me.

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  2. To add detail to my reluctance, he is using SB 229 as political cover in an apology. It needed to be unconditional for me to accept it on face. Now I know this is just the next move in his game…against kids and for tests.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. He has not apologized to me. I sent him a letter also about his insensitive comments and how I was offended that he referred to me as unamerican because I believe as a parent I am entitled to the right to make choices on my child’s education. I guess he doesn’t consider me worthy and I am in his district.

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  4. Apology or not, sincere, or not, his comments demonstrate an arrogance increasingly seen in public officials. These types of comments reveal more of the person behind them, than the crafted apoligies that follow them.
    I am reminded of Duncan’s remarks about white suburban mom’s false assumption about their children’s abilities.
    Both pompous, and condescending, such attitudes have no place in those either appointed or elected to SERVE the people.

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  5. Rep Jaques did contact me today. He shared that he would be issuing an apology. He restated his stand on failing for not taking the test. He also shared that his statement about being un-American was misunderstood. In both instances I corrected him and stated that they were his quoted statements and were not misunderstood. I also shared that it was not my son who made the choice to opt out, it was mine and my husband’s, and my son is not a failure. I also shared that I am a veteran. I was enlisted during conflicts and Desert Storm and I took personal offense to his un-American comment. I am anything but un-American.

    I went on to say that the only failure is the Smart Balanced Assessment. He quickly excused himself from the call and shared that he was heading into a meeting with Gov. Markell.

    Mr. Jaques, although the apology is nice, you can not take back words you’ve put out there. They are forever in the cyber world and in the public eye. I challenge you to think before you speak and write in the future. You are in office because the people in your district elected you and that can be undone. When you accepted your appointment as Chair of the House Education Committee you took on a much larger responsibility to not only represent your district, but to also represent the constituents in the entire state related to education.

    One last thought…Calling kids failure (or parents) and accusing people of being un-American is exactly what a person is who uttered those words.

    Alright, two last thoughts. You have a significant responsibility to the children and parents in this state and need to remember that.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Actually as a historian, what is completely un-American is being forced to do something that is morally wrong without putting up a fight… The revolutionary war. as one of many examples.

    The American thing here is to rebel and not allow ones child to take the test…. Forcing our children to do whatever the aristocrats demand, is British, if anything (apologies to my Limey friends)…. The American thing is to rebel against tyranny and misuse of authority….

    All signs point to Jacques as a bought- man.

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  7. This infuriates me to no end! The Legislators and our Governor and DOE want to tell parents how much we need to be or are allowed to be involved in our children’s education. I love volunteering and supporting my daughter, her school and the district but enough is enough! SMARTER BALANCE IS THE FAILURE AND IT IS UN-AMERICAN TO IMPOSE IT ON ALL OF OUR KIDS. Is that clear enough for you legislators that voted against opt-out? The election year is here. You had better figure this out or risk not returning to your office next year because parents vote!

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