Here we go again! The opt-out movement is back! And smack dab in the middle of it all is Delaware’s 62 legislators in the House and Senate. Matthew Albright with the News Journal wrote about the Veto Override of House Bill 50. There are some great quotes in here… and then there is Earl…
“If you’re a Democrat, and the governor’s a Democrat, you have to think long and hard, ‘Do I want to override my governor?” said Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, chairman of the House Education Committee. “It has to be a really big issue for you to do that.”
Jaques was one of five representatives who voted against House Bill 50. He says parents already have the right to opt out, so he doesn’t understand the need for a new law.
Earl, Earl, Earl… when are you going to get what this is all about? I’ve already put Earl in the no column on this. I don’t expect him to change his vote at all. There is no law when it comes to parents opting out, thus House Bill 50!!! It protects the parents, but it is more than obvious Earl wants to side with the Governor. Luckily, State Rep. John Kowalko is able to comment on this insanity with a breath of fresh air”
“If it’s a good policy, you voted for it because it’s a good policy,” Kowalko said. “That policy does not change its makeup just because the governor has decided that he doesn’t like it. If we start considering another branch of government as dictating to us how our decisions should be made, we are seriously compromising our rights as an independent body.”
State Rep. Mike Ramone is once again thinking this is all about the amount of testing kids take. Mike, I’m going to tell you right now I have never once heard from any parent about any other test but the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Parents don’t want to opt out of any other test but the Smarter Balanced. Once again, those who are pro “assessment inventory” are missing some basic facts. When DCAS was around, it was taken two to three times a year depending on how the students did on the first Spring test. If they didn’t hit proficiency, they had to take it again. That’s when parents were talking about “too much testing”. But what happens when we do get rid of the assessments that do matter in favor of SBAC and the interim assessments that accompany it? Then you will have opt-out and NO assessments that give good feedback. I am not anti-assessment. Like the PTA, I support assessments that give timely feedback with a validated test. I already gave my predictions on the final results for the Assessment Inventory Committee. But Ramone… does he realize what House Bill 50 actually is?
Ramone also said he wants to see a statewide process for opting out, since the current rules are a patchwork of district-by district rules.
A statewide process for opting out? It’s called House Bill 50. It specifically states when schools would receive letters from parents and that students who are opted out need to receive another form of instruction. Does he want us to do it through the DOE? That would be a never-ending nightmare! Let’s not muddy the waters any more Mike. House Bill 50 is what it is. You are either for parental rights or you’re not. At the end of the day, this is what it all boils down to. Something Delaware PTA President Dr. Terri Hodges agrees with:
“The message we’re trying to send is that parents and teachers and the community have spoken,” said Terri Hodges, the PTA’s president. “We are hoping our legislators honor the will of the people and follow their original vote.”
I am already hearing the DOE is talking about Smarter Balanced results coming in before kids leave school for summer. I saw that one coming a mile away! This will be another one of their attempts to dissuade legislators from voting for the override. “Look, parents said they wanted quicker feedback. We’re going to make that happen.” But no matter when the results come in, we have to face facts. The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a BAD test. Period. I am all for getting rid of SBAC for high school juniors. But I am also for getting rid of it for ALL Delaware students. Until that happens, parents will opt out, and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it. Yes, the legislators do need to look at the reasons why. I won’t disagree with that. But talking about it doesn’t do anything for parents. The legislators who voted for the Smarter Balanced Assessment knew there were issues with it. But they voted it in anyways. This is the consequence of that action. Yes, Murphy already bought the test. We all know that. But look at the results. Has it changed anything for our students? Not really. It has brought disruption and chaos to our children’s education. The only ones who support this assessment are the very ones who seem to profit, whether financially or through an illusion of success by having “great scores”.
As for the infamous letter the ten Democrats sent Governor Markell about the SAT replacing the Smarter Balanced Assessment, this is NOT their idea. The Delaware DOE has been talking about this publicly since last May. The College Board is redesigning the SAT to be more like the Smarter Balanced and make it all about the Common Core. So guess what, it’s not like it will be that much of an improvement. Can’t wait to see those SAT scores on top of Delaware’s already horrible scores.
This is a bill that comes down to basic and fundamental parental rights. Meanwhile, over 200 parents have already signed the Delaware PTA Petition. More will sign as well before it is all said and done. This is a battle parents aren’t giving up on. We won’t stop until our rights are protected. I am frankly shocked that some legislators would rather see parents fighting with schools than overriding a ridiculous veto by a Governor who is so entrenched in corporate education reform he can’t see the forest from the trees.