The Opposition of Parent Opt Out & Their Warped Realities & Ties To Rodel, Markell & Pearson

Everyone is entitled to speak their mind.  But it is usually more effective if it is your own mind.

On Wednesday, April 22nd, public comment from parents and teachers either in support or against House Bill 50 was given to the Delaware House Education Committee.  One commenter, a special education teacher in the Milford School District named Jesse Parsley was in opposition to the bill.  I was very curious why Mr. Parsley was  speaking against the bill when the vast majority of teachers in traditional school districts support it.  Jesse Parsley is part of the Rodel Dream Team of teachers in Delaware.  So I decided to check out his Twitter account, and this happened:

I did some more research on Parsley, and found this on a blog of one of the contractors with the Delaware DOE:

In fact, many of the folks that spoke against House Bill 50 can be found here:

But what about Courtney Fox, not the famous actress, but the Head of School at First State Montessori Charter?  She seemed like she didn’t have any vested interest in state assessments.  Just a charter leader concerned about how parents opting out would impact the school’s test scores.  No ties to Governor Markell, right?  WRONG!

The Council of Chief State School Officers is proud to announce Courtney Fox as the 2008 winner of the State Teacher of the Year for Delaware.

Yeah, you can read and watch this here:

I was wondering why the Rodel cabal leader didn’t show up at the House Education Committee.  But he did send some of his minions…

Published by

Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

15 thoughts on “The Opposition of Parent Opt Out & Their Warped Realities & Ties To Rodel, Markell & Pearson”

    1. It is interesting that you are trying to find my ties to different groups… I am just a parent, teacher, principal who cares deeply about educational in Delaware and I do what I can to keep it moving in a positive direction. I do not represent any certain group but instead, speak from a place of genuine interest in Delaware children.

      Do I believe that there are children who should be allowed an exemption from this type of test? Absolutely! There are already procedures in place for this and I believe in a collaborative, team decision coming together to make these determinations.

      Would I agree that this not the perfect assessment? Absolutely! But, we will never find the perfect assessment and no assessment will ever tell us all we need to know about a child.

      Do I believe there is too much assessment happening in some some schools? Absolutely! But, much of that us because of district mandates, not state regulations.

      Does the opt-out bill addresses any of the above issues? It doesn’t… Schools can still make children who shouldn’t take certain assessments take them, this opt-out is only for the state assessment. The test changing or being looked at in a new way is not part of this bill. And, this bill doesn’t say anything about the amount of assessments… You could opt-out of the state assessment and your school or distrct could replace it with ten other tests.

      As you consider this bill, please think carefully about whether the current language gets to the issues you are concerned about.


      1. Courtney, I’m not going to apologize for writing about your very deep connections with those who would force this test on our children. You can talk about other assessments all you want, but do I see a large swath of parents opting out of those tests? No. It is this test. As a parent, I believe with all my heart and soul that this isn’t right. It is not the right way. I refuse to let my son take a test that amounts to a score and data. I don’t know much about your school. I don’t know how many special needs children you have there. How many children in poverty, or low-income, or kids that come from broken homes, or places of great violence. All I know is this test was designed for one thing, and one thing only: to make money. The reason you are seeing 200,000 parents in NY opting out, the reason you are seeing NO 11th graders going to a school in Seattle, it’s not cause of the teachers. It’s not the schools, or the districts. It’s because it’s a bad test. It’s longer than the Bar exam. Aside from the many technical problems, aside from the accommodations not showing up for students with special needs, aside from the confusing language and anxiety, it’s stressing kids out. Maybe your school isn’t. Maybe you have smaller classroom sizes as your school is in it’s first year. What I do know is you stood in front of a room full of parents and legislators and those who forced, yes forced, this test on our children, my child, and said you don’t support a parent’s right to opt out. The district mandates came from the state mandates which came from the federal mandates which came from people like Bill Gates thinking they could fix education. I can sit here and try to convince you but I won’t. But one day, I truly hope you see this for what it is. You’ve been on an upward trajectory, and I’m sure if things stay the same, you will continue to rise in education. But know this: parents and teachers, the vast majority, they don’t want things to stay the same. This bill is only for the state assessment, but people would still opt out if there was no bill. This bill is so schools like yours can’t try to talk parents out of opting out. It’s so schools won’t be punished for parents choosing to exercise their fundamental God-given rights to opt their child out.
        Yeah, there are provisions for the special needs kids who are physically and mentally unable to take a test like this. And they deserve that. But that is such a small sliver of even the special needs population. So please stop demeaning parents who have opted their children out by saying only those children should be opted out. It’s insulting, and I’m tired of it.
        Educators can’t change the system. They have been forced into a situation where they have to shut up or support it. Administrator’s aren’t rushing to the podium. Those that are seem to be saying “Don’t opt out.” Shame on them. So who is left? Who else is going to say enough is enough? Do you think Kowalko just woke up one day and said “Hey, I’m going to write an opt-out bill?” No. He listened. He talked with parents. He understood. What a representative should do- represent the people. Not Rodel. Not the Delaware Business Roundtable. Not the Delaware Charter School Network. He understands, and he sees the future. He knows the numbers are small this year. But he knows next year Delaware WILL have NY percentages. He is actually protecting all of us with this bill. I hope your eyes will open to that.


        1. This bill is not about this test… If a better assessment was chosen, would you still support opt-out. These are two different arguments… The bill is not about Smarter Balanced… It is about the state assessment (whatever that may be).

          You stated frustration that educators can’t change the system because they either support it or shut up… Jesse and I have chosen to speak out and while it puts a target on our back for people like you to criticize us, it is because we care and we don’t want to sit by and watch things happen it as you say – just support it or shut up. While we may differ in opinion we hope that you will appreciate our attempts to speak up about educational issues. Just as you have the right to speak about how this bill impacts you, I have that right as well.


          1. I never said that you don’t have the right to speak out about the bill. But I also have the right to counter your arguments with either my own opinion or facts to back it up. This bill is about the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Did you see parents opting out of DCAS? Anyone who thinks it is not about this test is fooling themselves.


          2. Courtney, again you have it ALL wrong.The bill is only about codifying that parents in Delaware have the right to protect their children if they feel the test, a test, any test for that matter is harmful to their child.

            It’s not about SBAC or the “statewide assessment” at all. It’s about a parent’s right. A right you so clearly do not support. A heinous position for a teacher to take, IMO.


          3. And who determines a “better” assessment? I would have to assume you don’t think the Smarter Balanced is a good assessment. When I say teachers have been given hush orders, I don’t know of any teacher that has been told to not talk about how great the SBA is. I never said you don’t have that right, but as a superintendent (which is essentially what a head of school is), you are a public figure. You get paid by the state. You are subject to FOIA. I agree with John, I would opt my child out of any assessment I thought was bad. But your “everything is awesome” speech the other day rubbed people the wrong way. You had to know, with a room full of parents and teachers, your views weren’t going to be popular. I’m sure they were with the DOE. They were probably salivating when they heard that.
            As for Jesse, he was very vocal about his issues with the teacher evaluations based on the state assessment. But he is the first teacher I have met who supported the test and felt parents opting out would corrupt the data. As I told him, my child isn’t data. He is a unique individual. Every student is. And sorry if I’m raining on the DOE’s data parade, but it’s my right, and I will fight this as long as I have to (which I pray to God isn’t too much longer).

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello, “teacher not a tester”, I AM Donna Johnson.
      I find it utterly disgraceful that you believe the only people that can comment about education issues are people who have given birth to children. You know nothing about me! How pathetically juvenile and demeaning your comments are to teachers and women everywhere. Since you know nothing about me, I will correct your first mistake- I do not work for DOE, I am the Exec Director of the SBE, a nationally board certified teacher, a former district administrator and I believe in every one’s right to comment on issues as they choose. I will not dignify your claims regarding any aspect of my personal life, suffice to say you know less there than your attempt to state my job title.
      Should someone ask what gives you the right to decide who may speak on a topic and who doesn’t? No they shouldn’t, because you do not have that right. The difference between us, one of many clearly, is that I actually respect the fact that others have differing opinions, I respect their right to share them and do not make ridiculous accusations or personal attacks about them. If you actually understood the term “conflict of interest” you wouldn’t have typed your comment above. However, having knowledge about which you speak and comment clearly hasn’t stopped you.

      As adults and especially educators, we should set examples with our behavior, with our demonstrations of how to be responsible digital citizens. I find the cyber bullying, name calling, and personal attacks of anyone that takes a different viewpoint of yours the exact opposite of what we would hope our students or our own children would engage in. (and unfortunately this comment is directed at you in addition to many others that I’ve seen comment on this topic) Perhaps it would be helpful to remember those teachings when you decide to attack others personally rather than debate the actual issues and become the example of bad online behavior.

      Kevin, you and I have had several good discussions and shared a pretty open dialogue, however I am extremely disappointed at the personal attacks you have permitted on teachers, school leaders, and quite frankly anyone that has expressed opposition to HB50. The personal attacks are not acceptable on anyone that speaks their mind on an issue. You would not tolerate it if it were directed at you, your wife, your friends, let alone your son. I would have hoped that you would demand respectful comments and avoid personal attacks on individuals that have either communicated their personal view or the opinion of the organization they represent or in some cases such as mine, both.
      I am proud of the accomplishments of so many of our Delaware Educators, including Jesse and Courtney, plus many others regardless of their opinion on HB50. Both of them, like many of our teachers, continually have taken opportunities to not only improve their craft but also have embraced opportunities to grow in their profession as teachers and leaders. Those accomplishments should never be demeaned or belittled. Thank you, Jesse and Courtney for all that you do to continue to grow as educators and for the dedication you have toward your students.


  1. Courtney,

    Even if everything you believe in is true, and I don’t think it is, but let’s pretend…how arrogant does one have to be to actually cross into the space where you place your sense of right and wrong in front of a parent’s right?

    Pretty arrogant I’d say.

    If the test is awesome, then parents would be fools to opt out, no?


  2. It’s one thing to believe the tests are good and right, and even if I disagree, it’s 100% a whole new level of CRAZY to take that belief and impose it, as the will of the STATE, upon my child.



  3. Oh, pa-lease, Dee! The fact that you went to extreme dexification on my two points proves them. (1) Until you have your own children, you will not understand the depths that these parents in the opt-out movement will go to in order to protect them. (2) You are married to someone who works in the governor’s office; therefore it *is* a conflict of interest for you to speak either FOR or AGAINST anything to do with that office.

    Your diatribe does nothing to refute those two statements. Instead, you *DID* personally attack me by using the terms “pathetic,” “juvenile,” “demeaning,” “ridiculous,” just to name a few. I did not use any of those personally attacking terms. I just pointed out the obvious.

    Furthermore, I think it is utterly ironic that you seem to think everyone can have opinions, as long as it is the “accomplished” educators who drink the Rodel/Vision Kool-Aid.


  4. Please do not post anything on here concerning a certain topic, and you know what I’m speaking of. Other issues going on here. I have very limited internet access today and I will address this further with you. Please be civil!


  5. I missed the inappropriate comment and thankful that I did; however, I am disappointed someone would stoop low to advance an argument #disgusted.
    One of the biggest complaints of HB50 supporters is that their opinions have been hushed. First, teachers with doubts and concerns were not invited back to state meetings. Educators with different points of view are not included to trouble shoot for progress (which validates years of experience and education) but instead are pressured to conform or labeled as too old to advance education. The strategy is “these are the people we must rid. They are against progress.” This DOE/MMarkell mentality is scary. In addition, it is sad that Jesse and Courtney are safe to expess their opinions while other educators shrink because they must remember their family bills. I would feel more comfortable making a public statement if I knew I had Alan Jackson on my side.
    In conclusion, it is sad that that a quality, civil discourse is not encouraged for progress. Our DE ed system is reduced to an all or nothing… perhaps we are missing something on both sides.


    1. I see you’ve already judged my “inappropriate comment” without seeing it.

      You say: “In addition, it is sad that Jesse and Courtney are safe to expess their opinions while other educators shrink because they must remember their family bills. I would feel more comfortable making a public statement if I knew I had Alan Jackson on my side.”

      Well, I am a teacher, and I have been censored into silence for some reason. I did NOT attach anyone with personal comments. I stated facts. Wouldn’t you like to know that someone in a highly paid position in the DEDOE has a direct relationship with someone who works closely with Jack Markell? Well, I posted that information with links to show causality of a conflict of interest.

      However, that person went on a rampage and did ALL of the name calling, which I’m sure you can still see her uncensored comment above.

      **Please notice that I still haven’t resorted to name-calling.**


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