I Encourage & Want All Delaware Parents To Opt-Out Of Smarter Balanced Today!!!!

Here’s the bottom line.  Our legislators had a chance to make this something civil.  They jacked it up.  Our teacher unions and parent-teacher organizations had a chance to make a difference.  They jacked it up.  Most teachers can’t or won’t talk about opt-out for fear of getting fired.  Everyone can talk about supporting a parent’s right all they want, but unless they do something about it they are essentially empty words.  Common Core is bad for our kids.  The testing around it, no matter what they want to call it: Smarter Balanced, PARCC or some other meaningless acronym for that state, is bad for our kids.  This is the time when we as parents need to do what needs to be done: massive opt-out on an apocalyptic scale.  Not an apocalypse for us or our kids, but to bring down these corporations that want to brainwash our kids for an end goal of keeping our children down.

All this nonsense with “we support opt-out, but the national or state heads don’t” coming from these groups and organizations are not doing anyone any favors.  I don’t care who first came up with the idea of opting out.  Just do it.  Opt your kid out.  Even if he or she gets every single question right.  Because it does NOTHING for your child except fuel the Common Core engine taking over our schools.  This is a revolution.  If you aren’t behind it 100%, get the hell out of our way.  Because we will just move on to the next parent willing to listen.  We aren’t organized.  We don’t pay membership dues.  We spread the word.

Don’t go to all these education meetings and Legislative Hall thinking it will make a difference.  It is a waste of time.  The education reformers have dug their heels in and turned all the decision makers into their own puppets.  By a vast majority.  But we will expose every single last one of them.  And we will shame them and vote them out.  We will take over the school boards, slowly but surely.  We will watch legislation and support our state legislators who bring good bills to the table.  We won’t support those who ride on the coattails of our state embarrassment of a Governor and his posse of enablers.  Don’t bother with the News Journal.  Or Rodel.  Or Vision.  Or Student Success 2025.  Or the DOE.  But do watch what your schools are saying and doing.  Find out where the data is going.  Make FOIA your best friend.  If a school resists you, on anything, demand to know why and fight for your child.  Make sure ANYTHING you sign from your kid’s school is in the best interest of your child and doesn’t compromise their personal information or security.  Do NOT sign up for these ridiculous after-school SAIL clubs.  They want your kid’s medical information.  They want to burn your kid out for nine to ten hours a day instead of six or seven by promising their celebration of the arts your kid should be getting during the regular day.  Opt out of that one too!  And whatever you do, DON’T TAKE THE DAMN SURVEYS!!!!!!

Stop believing the lies that this is all about helping kids who are a minority or low-income.  Funny how they keep saying that and they keep getting richer.  That’s the truth.  I don’t care if Bill Gates himself comes to your house.  The man is a billionaire.  I don’t care how good the eclairs are at the Rodel-Vision fest.  Just by going to these ridiculous  parties feeds them.  “Oh look at me, I’m at Visionquest.  I’m somebody important.”  By going along to get along, you are allowing your child’s rights to be violated more and more everyday.  And for all the “how will we measure how our schools are doing?” crowd, they are either in on it or actually think these tests are a valid measurement.  They aren’t.  Not at all.  And shame on all these Civil Rights groups.  You’ve been paid off by Gates and the gang.  You do a disservice to the very children you pretend to represent.

Don’t support opt-out because of teacher evaluations.  If the reformers want them gone, they will find a way to make it happen.  But if their evaluations should not include standardized testing scores, the reformers will say “Hey, look what we did” while they continue to raid and plunder our schools and get your kid’s data.  Don’t fall for their traps.  They set them all the time, and actually think they are being crafty.  I can see them coming a mile away.  I knew House Bill 50 wasn’t going to pass.  I knew our legislators would cave.  They think they are so smart, but they are cowards.

If you need more information about how to opt-out, please go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/387537074787803/ and ask any parent.  If anyone tries to talk you out of it, let me know and they are out of the group.  This doesn’t mean someone giving you practical advice about how to do it or who to talk to will get the boot, but if someone says “You shouldn’t opt out cause of…”, I will personally kick them to the curb.  This is a Refuse The Test page, not a debate club.

My problem was I thought having the support of these different groups would help the cause, and for that I apologize.  We don’t need them.  We just need to refuse.  You can help by spreading the word.  Tell everyone you talk to about opt-out.  Tell them why they need to do it whether they realize it or not.  Tell them, yeah, it’s a choice, but make the right one for your kid.  Do be slightly obnoxious about it.  Don’t let people try to word-beat you with reasons why these tests are good.  Do your research.  Do your own homework.  And be a parent your kid can be proud of.  And if you are a charter parent, you’re going to have work three times as hard to get parents to opt out their kids.  But once you get one, and they get one, and so on, you got a movement at a school.  Do it one parent at a time, and keep doing it, and make sure they do.  And Sussex parents, boy oh boy do they need to get the word!  Big time.

And if anyone says “Don’t listen to that Kevin guy, that blogger guy, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he’s just a confused guy, he doesn’t know how to get along with people, don’t align with him, he’s angry, he’s paranoid,” they are probably right.  I am confused why grown adults would allow this kind of crap into our schools.  Sometimes I don’t know what I am talking about cause I try to talk in their language with all their big acronyms and their big reformer words.  Sorry, I don’t know how to get along with the enablers of those who would mess up education for our kids.  They are monsters in my mind.  Sure I’m angry.  I’m pissed off.  These are our kids.  I have good cause to be paranoid and you should too!

While our legislators sit around for the next five and a half months trying to figure out how to tackle “the opt-out issue”, I’ll be telling everyone “Opt Out Now”.  Screw their committee meetings and their debates.  If they don’t get it by now, they are NEVER going to get it.  Or they belong to Education Inc.  I still love some of them, but let’s face it, they are few and far between.  And even though the vast majority of people in the know love them, the votes rule the day in Dover.  So let’s put them all in a position of thinking “Damn, we should have allowed HB50 to go through!”  For the bills I support, you will know it.  For those I don’t, you’ll know it.

I’m not a leader.  I’m a messenger.  Let’s get that straight.  I’m not going to host opt-out town halls or come to your kid’s school to be an Opt-Out Advocate.  If you want me to make some noise, I sure as hell will.  I have no qualms about emailing any son of a bitch that pressures you about opt-out and I will make it public with your permission.  Did it before and I’ll do it again.  But I have too much going on to start travelling all over the place.  No offense.  If I plan a rally again, it will be during a time when ALL parents can try to make it and not when our bone-headed education leaders want us to.  I would love to do a march.  Let me know your thoughts and ideas.  No leaders.  No meetings.  Just grass-roots making it happen parents.  We don’t organize.  We refuse.  Join the Refuse The Test Facebook page in the link above and let’s start making some serious noise.

 

*To clarify something in the last paragraph.  After reading what I wrote about rallies and “bone-headed education leaders”, the thought was regarding the State Board of Education who finds the time to hold meetings at the most inconvenient time possible for parents and teachers.  This was NOT in reference to the Delaware PTA Sponsored rally last week to support the override of the veto.

American Parents Go It Alone As National PTA Opts Out of Opt-Out

Sending a very confusing message to American parents, the National PTA will be issuing a position statement on testing and opt-out in the next couple days.  In anticipation of this, the Delaware PTA issued a press release indicating they still support House Bill 50 because it supports parent’s rights, and in turn, children’s rights.  The National PTA will not support the opt-out movement according to the Delaware PTA statement.  The Delaware PTA has always advised they do not tell parents to opt out or tell them not to.  But they have done a lot for opt-out in their support for House Bill 50.

As state teacher’s unions and the national unions, National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, have never really supported the movement one way or another, the focus for all these groups has now become the nature of testing.  In other words, the reformers have won.  They have convinced the biggest organizations concerning schools that the problem isn’t with these upstart parents opting their kids out, it is the actual tests.  Which is why we are seeing these assessment inventory committees popping up all over the country.

The end goal will be the same tests parents object to, but in smaller chunks, embedded in tests throughout the year.  As students reach the end of units they are learning in their personalized learning environment, they will be given unit tests.  They will still be standardized assessments, but not on the surface.  Students will only progress when they have become proficient on the material.  Based on “their” material.  Not the standards most people grew up with, but the Common Core standards.

It is a disgrace.  I still believe the only way to stop the takeover of our children by these reprehensible companies and organizations is to make a lot of noise and opt-out.  The PTA’s and unions have been lulled into a false sense of security by these animals.  They still don’t get what the essential problem is here.  But many parents do.  It is Common Core.  It is the resources pouring out of the classroom and into corporations that disguise themselves as think tanks and non-profits.  Where their CEO’s make more than most people make in six years.  Where they buy off legislators and politicians with their big money and big words.   With promises of power and security at the expense of children.

I have felt many betrayals in the past year and a half, but none have stung like the ones in the past two months.  Organizations and people I thought were allies.  They know who they are.  If they don’t, be assured I hear a lot.  Much more than you probably realize.  Delaware isn’t that big.  People who think the world will stop revolving if they don’t make sure they are heard.  I respect the Delaware PTA for getting this out there ahead of time.  I joined the PTA back in September so I could hopefully get some more access to things.  That never happened, despite assurances from someone that it would.  So I will not be paying my “membership fee” again.  I truly can’t support an organization that thinks a parent’s right to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced is okay but still thinks Common Core is a good thing.  I always knew this day would come, but it happened much sooner than I expected.

Delaware and American parents are on their own.  We can’t rely on anyone but ourselves.  We must shoulder the fight for our children by ourselves, without any true support.  And you know what, I kind of like it better that way…

Assessment Inventory Task Force Meeting Tonight, Don’t Opt Out Of This One!!!!

I strongly encourage everyone in Delaware to go to the Assessment Inventory Task Force meeting tonight at the Delaware Dept. of Education Townsend Building in Dover at 5:00pm.  The transparency surrounding this task force has been horrible.  When Senate Joint Resolution #2 was discussed during the Senate Education Committee meeting last June, the audience was told these would be public meetings with full transparency.  We are now seeing that isn’t the case at all.  I’m really not sure where the minutes are for this because there are none.  We can thank Senator David Sokola for this.  Tonight’s meeting is the third meeting and no minutes have been listed on the SJR #2 page.  You would think the DOE would also put minutes for this group on their website since it was their idea anyways, but no.  Unless you go to these meetings, we have no idea what they are doing.

For those thinking “Why should I go?  It’s not like they care about my input anyways!”, you are probably right.  But we need all eyes on this.  When asked if the Smarter Balanced Assessment would be a part of this conversation, Governor Markell’s Education Policy Advisor Lindsay O’Mara said:

“Absolutely, yes, all assessments will be the subject of discussion.  We were all invited together to have a discussion about assessments.  Hopefully those discussions will be grounded in the reality of the cycle of state legal requirements around assessments.  But were happy to have any conversation around any assessment that any member of this group would put on the table.”

Time to live up to that promise Lindsay!  If we want this task force to Achieve it’s original promise, then we need to start making sure it is wide open to all.

Updated 15 minutes later.  The minutes for the second meeting are out there, but I could only find them on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar in draft form:

So I ask again: where is the conversation about Smarter Balanced being put on the table?  Or is the Smarter Balanced the power brokers behind this that want to eat up all the other assessments unless they support SBAC?  And I see a whole let of Achieve Inc. mentions in these minutes.  Speaking of power brokers…