The Delaware Department of Education submitted their participation rate plan to the United States Department of Education on 2/11/16. Less than 24 hours later, the “plan” was approved by US DOE. In my opinion, this is all smoke and mirrors. The Smarter Balanced Assessment window opens next week. I have no clue what opt-out numbers will be this year. I know many of the same parents who opted their child out last year plan on doing it this year as well. The big factor is going to be the replacement of the Smarter Balanced Assessment with the Common Core aligned SAT for high school juniors. Many of the opt-outs last year were high school juniors.
I love how the Delaware DOE talks about how some communities balked about over-testing which resulted in the Assessment Inventory. The ironic part is parental choice to have their kids not take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Parents didn’t opt their kids out of the SAT, AP exams, or any of the other tests: just Smarter Balanced. Much of the over-testing discussion for lower grades was around the DCAS which was administered two to three times a year depending on how the student did on the first Spring test.
Okay Secretary Godowsky, the DOE will send letters to Superintendents and Principals if the numbers are too low. What do you expect them to do at that point? The parents have already opted their child out. Do you expect them to threaten or cajole the parent into having their kid take the Smarter Balanced Assessment? Bribe them? Or even worse, have the kid take it without the parent’s knowledge? That isn’t a plan! The plain simple fact is the DOE cannot and should not make an opt-out plan. It is something the DOE, school districts, and charter schools have no control over. It’s a parental decision that should not be tampered with in any way! And I love how you can’t use the participation rate penalty in the Delaware School Success Framework this year because the US DOE didn’t approve it because of the Every Student Succeeds Act!
But let’s look at the US DOE response:
Alrighty then, that’s a plan! Cut the Title I administrative funds for the state assessment? Yes! Please do it! Cut it all! Bankrupt the federal funding for state assessments? Sounds like a plan to me! Delaware parents, opt your kids out TODAY! Or better yet, REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE!!!! And while your at it, all American parents need to contact their US Representatives and Senators and tell them to vote NO on confirming Acting US Secretary of Education John King!