Yesterday, many individuals wanted to give public comment at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting. A large crowd showed up to speak out against Regulation 103 and the very punitive measures it could place on our schools. As the meeting was about to begin, State Board President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray did say “If anyone else wants to give public comment this is your last chance to sign in.” The problem was that the room was beyond capacity and parents were forced to stand in the hallway. One parent did not hear Dr. Gray above the crowd. Public comment was given by many parents, but for Appoquinimink mother Lisa Radke, she missed her chance. I did ask Dr. Gray if the parent could give her comment given the circumstances, but Dr. Gray said no. The parent, very upset, told Dr. Gray that was messed up. I asked Lisa to send me her public comment and promised her I would post it on this blog. Here it is:
Hello, My name is Lisa Marie Radke and I’m from Middletown. I have 2 children, one with special needs, in Delaware Schools. One 7th grader at A.G. Waters and one 10th grader at First State Military Academy.
Under Section C. of Regulation 103, “Impact Criteria” #4 says, “Will the amended regulation help to ensure that all students’ legal rights are respected? The amended regulation will help ensure that all students’ legal rights are respected.”
I see that in this section you asked and then answered your own questions. I interpreted it to say…here is the concern but we ALREADY have all the answers. But you missed one important group’s rights. PARENTS’ RIGHTS. We are our children’s advocates. It is our job, before it is your job, to make sure that our children have the best education we can provide and it is our job to protect them in this process. In Regulation 103, it seems to me, a parent, that you are going to label entire schools based on an unproven, controversial test and punish them accordingly. A test that is not even graded by educators. That’s what I’m seeing here. And that’s crazy.
I opted my 6th grader out last year. I was so glad that I did and he was too. Because he was able to witness the pressure the rest of his class and even his teachers were under. His class had to cram to finish their work at the end of the year because testing took up too much classroom time. The Library remained closed, classrooms were disrupted, Ipads had to be turned in before projects were completed and all because of the Tests.
According to a NY Times article dated August 13th of this year by Kate Taylor, New York State’s Education Department said that 20 percent of third- through eighth-grade students did not take this year’s exams, quadruple the number from the year before. And it’s going to get worse. And this is coming to Delaware. And if you think that parents are not happy with you now, just think what their reaction will be when you start punishing schools because of this test.
I was in a meeting last week with a school district superintendent when he stated that a movement was coming from the transgender community. That this issue with transgenders using opposite sex restrooms and locker rooms was coming to Delaware and will be addressed and we will have to show “respect.” I was floored. But I have to tell you that another movement is coming and it’s much bigger than the “Transgender movement.” MUCH. BIGGER.
If you only hear one statement that I say today, please hear this. THE STATE DOES NOT OWN MY CHILDREN. The state does not have rights to my children. There is a clear lack of validity, reliability and fairness in these new assessments. I’ve read article after article from educators all over the country stating the same opinion. I don’t have to read or cite every article because anyone can “Google” it and it’s all there. And that is why I have made this decision for my children. The state cannot impose these stressful, high stakes tests on my children if I say NO. And today, I am here to say NO.
Schools are here to teach. TEACH. Not to test. Get back to basics. Assessments can and have been made in other ways in the classroom and within the district. Once again… The State does not own my child or have rights to my child. I am the Parent. You are the parents (looking at audience). NOT THE STATE. It is my right to say that regarding “Smarter Balanced”… we… OPT OUT. Thank you.