National PTA Opposes Parent Opt Out: UPDATE!

Thank God the Delaware PTA has the backbone to stay the course!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The National PTA adopted a resolution opposing parents’ decision to have their child opt out of state testing.

The resolution endorses the federal requirement of annual testing and says:

“National PTA does not support state and district policies that allow students to opt-out of state assessments that are designed to improve teaching and learning. While we recognize that parents are a child’s first teacher and respect the rights of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children, the association believes the consequences of nonparticipation in state assessments can have detrimental impacts on students and schools. Nonparticipation can result in a loss of funding, diminished resources and meaningful interventions for student subgroups, which would have a disparate impact on minorities and students with special needs and widen the achievement gap. Opting out also stalls innovation by inhibiting effective monitoring and improvement of programs, instructional strategies and exams, and could thwart…

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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!

3 thoughts on “National PTA Opposes Parent Opt Out: UPDATE!”

  1. Look at the comments:

    January 31, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Diane, what happened to the Democrats for Public Education? The last entry was in January 2015. I was so excited to see these democratic leaders speak up.
    January 31, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    I don’t know

    It takes a lot of dedication or money to sustain a new organization
    January 31, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    As a parent, I pledge only to opt my child out of tests which are not designed to improve teaching and learning. There, something the PTA and I can agree on – opting out of PARCC!
    January 31, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Does the National PTA have any position on how much testing is too much? the right amount?
    Jon Awbrey
    January 31, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    I’m guessing PTA means Paid To Advocate?
    Fl Teacher
    January 31, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Could this be part of the reason so many communities have opted out of PTA?
    Any community can start a Parent Teacher Organization, PTO, and avoid paying dues to this self-important association.
    January 31, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    That is exactly what we did in my community a number of years ago.
    January 31, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Sounds like yet another national organization out of touch with grass roots members and bought by billionaires. And the list keeps growing…
    January 31, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    A billionaire grant vs. evidence from Mother Jones that showed urban students take 266% more tests than their suburban counterparts. A Harvard education professor who says his own kids, in suburban Boston schools, shouldn’t take tests because they will crowd out important subjects like Shakespeare, while urban kids should be tested everyday vs. a compassionate and reasoned decision from the PTA.
    The scale of justice tips again to the side of the plutocrats.
    Jane Maisel
    January 31, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Diane, Your post has inspired me. Would you be willing to invite people to contribute to a list of pro-charter and pro- Common Core organizations that get money, and how much, from the Gates Foundation?
    Laura H. Chapman
    February 1, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Jane, I think you will find ready resources in books by Diane, Mercedes Schneider and others such as “Follow the Money.”
    An ever growing problem in following the money is the move to tap state and family or community foundations, many of these less prominent nationally than Gates, Broad, Walton, Hemsley, Arnold and so forth. There are also pass-through arrangements for reducing the transparency of funding. Rockefeller Advisors performs this function for the Gates Foundation, among others.
    The Gates Foundation database is relatively easy to search.
    It is tedious work to compile a master list of bought and paid for organizations and some of the descriptions of grants are purposely obscure…like, advocacy for higher standards may or many specify the Common Core. But Gates has invested so much in the Common Core that he is not giving up.
    The Helmsley Charitable Trust is often working in lockstep with Gates, most recently on centers for “Transforming” teacher education with a clear intent to control that process so a new generation of teachers will be indoctrinated, trained to use a tool-kit of no-nonsense disciplinary practices from Doug Lemov and others who say a few ” high leverage” practices are all that beginning teachers need, plus content knowledge of the kind easily tested. This Gates initiative is clearly targeted to teachers who will be placed in schools where low-income and minority students are being set up to experience a really obscene punitive and test-driven form of training, not really education at all…in my opinion.
    February 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Jane, go to Mercedes Schneider’s blog and look for her many posts on where the Gates’ money goes. Deutsch29 is the name.
    February 1, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Same old, same old. Same script, different author – or same author bought out another organization’s integrity.

    Luckily, parents go by what they experience with their own children, not the nonsense they hear spouted by the rheformers.
    PTA Mom in Maryland
    February 1, 2016 at 2:06 am

    So disheartening. Once the National PTA takes a position, the State and local PTAs are not permitted to take a different position on the same issue. Unfortunately, it is difficult to give feedback to the National level to be certain that the stance at the National level reflects the will of the PTA membership at the local level. On another note, there is always a great need for volunteers for leadership positions at the State and County PTA levels. PTA has tremendous potential and is volunteer run except for at the National level. PTAs at all levels can inform parents about issues and provide parents the opportunity to support or oppose various initiatives in education.
    February 1, 2016 at 11:14 am

    PTA Mom,

    Every national poll now shows parents opposed to Common Core and to the quantity of tests. But then parents don’t have grants from Gates. Why doesn’t your group drop out and form a PTO that speaks for parents?
    Mary Anne
    February 1, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Having served on the National PTA Board of Directors in the mid-90s and the early 2000s, both as a State President and an elected member, I can tell you that this National PTA is NOT the organization I knew and was proud to be a part of. And yes, it is all about the money – always has been; always will be.
    February 1, 2016 at 6:18 am

    You want Gates money for your organisation ? Just stick the word “National” in its name.
    February 1, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Yes Gates $ may be a factor but we who follow U Diane have to listen & provide helpful responses as this viewpoint is entrenched throughout the USA among ordinary adults despite data from experts.
    February 1, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I’ve found the same thing to be true. False narratives from the privatizers and corporatizers, appeal to people, even without Gates funding. The parroting of the narrative’s talking points, shows that intellectual processing doesn’t occur. The propaganda appeals at an emotional level, to people who feel better about themselves by adopting the dogma of the message.
    Journalist Jane Mayer, who researches the Koch’s, identified the source of their new messaging, anchored with the phrase “well-being”. The parroting, despite evidence that refutes, is ubiquitous.
    Mark Collins
    February 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

    It is to the tune of $1 million dollars.
    Julie Kramschuster
    February 1, 2016 at 7:11 am

    My school and district this year for a number of reasons, not the least of which is not contributing money to the national PTA, switched to a PTSO — no more national PTA. Much better to have a local organization, responsive to serving local students and their families. I wrote my check for membership happily and no longer pay any attention whatsoever to the “national PTA” (I also boycott the United Way now for the same reason — taking money from Gates to promote the low quality and testing-shepherd Common Core is WAY outside any charitable mission….)
    February 1, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Glad to hear about your school’s abandonment of the PTA. And, you are right. Too many United Way organizations are in bed with school privatizers. I’ve contacted a few. The message I received was, they move in the direction the money takes them. Others, run by people with consciences, wanted no part of the privatizers’ agenda.
    February 1, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Linda, the worst of the United Way organization is in Los Angeles. They are Gates funded and leading the charge for testing, test-based accountability and charters. They also tried to insert themselves and Broad toadies into the selection of the new superintendent (after all, they represent “the community”). Fortunately the LAUSD said no dice.
    February 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Nice to hear. Exposure of the bad guys is proliferating.

    UnKochMyCampus is gaining momentum, as reflected on their Facebook page.
    Last month, a North Carolina Chancellor “Pledged Faculty Involvement to Vet Controversial Koch Money”, at Western Carolina University. But, as is said, universities are quite good at co-opting through the theatrics of participation,
    February 1, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Doesn’t seem like they’re adding a lot of value as an organization, frankly. That statement is identical to that of the federal government, my state government and every single ed reform org.

    I’m not clear why we need another organization devoted to scolding parents on testing.

    Ed reform orgs are weirdly redundant 🙂
    February 1, 2016 at 9:34 am

    “Weirdly redundant” Either paid parrots or emotionally-needy parrots.
    February 1, 2016 at 7:45 am

    “We use data from a large-scale school-level randomized experiment conducted in 2010–2011 in public schools in Indiana. Our sample includes more than 30,000 students in 70 schools. We examine the impact of two interim assessment programs (i.e., mCLASS in grades K-2 and Acuity in grades 3–8) on mathematics and reading achievement. Two-level models were used to capture the nesting in the data. Results indicate that the treatment effect is insignificant in grades 3–8 and thus students in treatment schools perform as well as students in control schools. In contrast, the treatment effect is negative and significant in grades K-2 (i.e., kindergarten and second grade) indicating that students in control schools perform higher than students in treatment schools.”

    Were parents in Indiana public schools told that their kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders were part of this experiment?

    Will they now be told that the experiment offered no benefit to children in grades 3-8 and actually had a negative effect on K-2 students?

    Maybe the PTA could debate and pass a resolution on the possible downside of testing. That would be new information for the vast majority of parents, something they won’t hear from either their government or the 5000 ed reform and lobbying groups.
    February 1, 2016 at 9:40 am

    When Gates/Walton/Broad-funded groups “pass resolutions on the possible downside of testing” and privatized education, the oligarchs will enlist politicians and will infiltrate government departments to foist their agenda on the American people……Wait.
    February 1, 2016 at 8:05 am

    This is one of my favorite lectures on testing. It’s from Arne Duncan. He cites the book they were all citing that year- The Smartest Kids in the World and points to South Korea:

    “There’s a new book out called “The Smartest Kids in the World, and How They Got That Way.” The author, Amanda Ripley, found an interesting way to compare American schools with those in top-performing countries. She spent time with American students who did a year of school abroad, and with students from other countries who went to school in the United States.
    One of the countries she compares us to is South Korea.”

    Except he leaves out a part of the book. He forgets to tell us that parents in South Korea pay out of pocket for a huge private sector tutoring industry, which one would think would be important information for US parents- what those test scores cost families:

    “Tutoring services are growing all over the globe, from Ireland to Hong Kong and even in suburban strip malls in California and New Jersey. Sometimes called shadow education systems, they mirror the mainstream system, offering after-hours classes in every subject—for a fee. But nowhere have they achieved the market penetration and sophistication of hagwons in South Korea, where private tutors now outnumber schoolteachers.”
    February 1, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Not only in South Korea but also in the US. I worked at such a center for Korean children in NYC. These children attend an additional 3 hours after school at these centers learning math and English. I pity them, as they have their fun time crowded out for academics. I see children poorly socialize and emotionally developed.
    February 1, 2016 at 9:44 am

    The PTA must not be able to extrapolate. If they could, they would see the privatized education of the Bridge International Academies, backed by Gates, Z-berg and Pearson, and promoted by the World bank, to the exclusion of tax-supported schools.
    February 1, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Chiara, did you know that Amanda Ripley wrote the TIME cover story about Michelle Rhee, the savior of US education. The title was something about “she has a fix for our broken schools.”
    February 1, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve never read anything from Ripley that would win any awards…assuming no fix was in.
    Lloyd Lofthouse
    February 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Something else the worshipers of high stakes tests never mention:

    “When a
    student’s rank in the high-stakes College Scholastic Ability Test falls below her average ranks in
    prior national examinations, she exhibits greater suicidal tendency. The reference dependent
    effects, however, are absent for low-stakes in-school academic performance. The findings
    highlight the potential adverse consequences of disappointment in high-stakes testing.” …

    “the results support the argument that high-stakes testing may
    pose suicide risks to individuals with reference-dependent preferences when they perform worse
    than expected, while low-stakes testing is less likely to pose such risks”

    Click to access the_deadly_effect_of_high-stakes_testing_on_teenagers_with_reference-dependent_preferences.pdf

    In addition, from deutsch29, “South Korea, It’s High PISA Scores, and its Suicide App”

    “The alarming rate of South Korean teen suicides has prompted the South Korean Education Ministry to resort to its own “creative problem solving”: An app to assist with combating suicide:”

    And then there is this; Rising unemployment – Are there too many graduates?

    “Fast growing East Asian economies have rapidly increased the numbers of students attending university in recent years. Now the pool of unemployed graduates is rising to worrying levels in the region generally – and even in some high-growth economies.”
    SomeDAm Poet
    February 1, 2016 at 8:27 am

    “Opt Out”

    Opt out of the PTA
    Funded by the Gates’, oy vey!
    Opt out of the tests they love
    Orchestrated from above
    February 1, 2016 at 8:49 am

    February 1, 2016 at 8:18 am
    Not only in South Korea but also in the US. I worked at such a center for Korean children in NYC. These children attend an additional 3 hours after school at these centers learning math and English. I pity them, as they have their fun time crowded out for academics. I see children poorly socialize and emotionally developed.”

    That, and it’s an apples and oranges comparison, because the parents are paying for it. In fact, parents are paying extra, out of pocket, for all or part of those scores. That’s a crucial piece of information for low income and middle class families.

    He’s a product of (literally) the most prestigious private schools in the country. He has to omit information to sell his agenda?
    Nicholas Tampio
    February 1, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    At the same time, I’m furious at the PTA for taking money from the enemy. Isn’t that treason?
    Yvonne Siu-Runyan
    February 1, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Well, Gates did give the National PTA $$$$$. Gates is spoiled and will use his $$$$$ to GET HIS WAY. After all, he wants to go backwards though he says he looks to the future. He likes the OLD WAYS of owners and slaves on the plantation. Now the plantation is warehouses.
    February 1, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Reblogged this on Politicians Are Poody Heads and commented:
    Perhaps it’s time for the local PTA’s to opt out of the national PTA and form their own PTO’s.
    After all, the national PTA did not consult with the locals before making this pronouncement.
    February 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

    The Chamber of Commerce, which has been described as a hired gun, reflects a similar pattern, The national Chamber received Gates money for Common Core. Sadly, the local community Chambers have everything to lose from the corporatization and privatization of public schools.
    February 1, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Linda, it is no surprise that the Chamber would tout CCSS and testing, even without being paid to do so.
    The big surprise is that the National PTA would do it, against the will of most parents (see the Gallup Poll).
    SomeDAM Poet
    February 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Many national unions (NEA, AFT) follow the same pattern (eg, on backing political candidates like Clinton). The “leaders” don’t even bother to ask the members what they think. They just go ahead and state positions.

    Not sure why members tolerate such autocratic methods.
    February 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Chamber management comes from business. When businessmen can get someone to give them money to do what they were already going to do, they take the money and, label the giver, a sucker.
    Mark Collins
    February 1, 2016 at 10:10 am

    National PTA price is: $ 1 million dollars.
    Mark Collins
    February 1, 2016 at 10:12 am

    I wonder did they or Gates write the release?
    D L Paulson
    February 1, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Diane, I can’t seem to post anymore. I read your column almost every day and post a comment maybe twice a month. I sometimes respond to others and include a link to an article. Is that a problem?

    My views on public education are very close to yours, and I’m not a troll. Please tell me what your policy is about links, or kindly review my prior two or three comments which have not appeared. Thank you.
    February 1, 2016 at 10:59 am

    DL Paulson,

    You have not been blocked. There is something in the blog software that occasionally blocks comments, for no reason. I have been told that it works if you sign off, then sign on again. If that doesn’t work, let me know.
    February 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Also, if you have links, the comment sometimes go into moderation. But I approve 99.9% of comments in moderation.
    Duane Swacker
    February 1, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Any more than one link in a post or just one f l e r p will send the comment to moderation. One link gets through okay.

    At least that is my experience.
    February 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

    The very idea of a “national PTA” is a little strange.
    February 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Another embarrassingly bad proposal from the ed reform crew in Ohio-
    Lloyd Lofthouse
    February 1, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but every time we find a national organization linked to educaiton in any way that supports high stakes tests, VAM, corporate charter schools and vouchers, Bill Gates or the Walton family have always given them a lot of money first.
    February 1, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    One teeny-tiny comment/correction: it’s a position statement (voted on by the board of directors), not a resolution (voted on by the delegate body at convention.)
    Kevin Ohlandt
    February 1, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Exceptional Delaware and commented:
    Thank God the Delaware PTA has the backbone to stay the course!
    Kevin Ohlandt
    February 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Odd how the Delaware PTA supported a parent’s right to opt out with Delaware’s House Bill 50. If parent organizations like this can’t support parental rights, I can’t support their organization… I will support the Delaware PTA, but National? Hell no!


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