I’m getting multiple reports from parents that Superintendent Dr. Mark Holodick of Brandywine School District is handling all opt out requests. Once a letter is received, he contacts the parent, asks to meet with them, and tells them he has sole authority on how a student is or is not opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He tells them unless they have a medical condition that would allow them to be exempt, they must take the test.
Dr. Holodick, I spoke to you a few weeks ago in response to my article about Brandywine’s website and your letter to parents about opt out. I can see my words did nothing to change your feelings on this, which is fine. We are all entitled to our opinion. However, you are misreading the facts. Delaware state code states a school can only exempt a child under certain medical conditions. There is nothing in state code at all about what conditions a parent can or can’t opt their child out. These parents aren’t opting their children out asking for permission. They are opting their kids out…period! You have no jurisdiction telling parents they have to obtain medical documentation to opt their child out.
You need to stop this bullying atmosphere in your school district. While we can all agree these matters should be handled in a civil manner, you are crossing the line with your intimidating behavior. Brandywine parents who want to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, please go ahead and send in the letter. If Dr. Holodick calls you, tell him “thank you for your opinion, but my child is not taking this test.” If he continues to pressure you, tell him you REFUSE to have your child take this test and the discussion is over. If he continues, tell him you will contact an attorney.
This is exactly why I have tried to give guidance to all superintendents and heads of school in Delaware, but obviously some feel they can interpret the state code however they want. Fair warning to all of you. If I hear about it, I publish it.
Updated with that little thing called THE LAW: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c001/sc04/index.shtml