At least five students at Freire Charter School in Wilmington were given A’s on their final examinations in exchange for their parents not opting them out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment this spring. One parent was notified by the school that the Delaware Department of Education claimed all schools had to have a participation rate of 100%. When the parent challenged them on the federal and state laws which require 95% participation, the school agreed on that figure. They also told the parent the school was already under the 95% participation rate threshold. All five parents agreed to this deal. The school lured parents who wanted to prevent parents from opting their child out into this “deal” with false pretenses. Furthermore, the students didn’t even take their final exams but they were automatically given A’s because of this.
Can someone please tell me when this madness is going to stop? Aside from all the bullying issues at this “zero tolerance” school, we now have test fraud? How much does the Delaware Department of Education know about this? If they don’t, what are they going to do about it? This is exactly why the veto on House Bill 50 needed to have the override by the Delaware General Assembly. But our legislators were too scared to tick off the “education Governor” and do the right thing for parents. Now we have this going on. No one in Legislative Hall who voted no on the fake “suspension of rules” to bring the override to a vote probably doesn’t care that our schools play games like this. How many situations like this have played out in other Delaware charters or districts? I would call for the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware State Board of Education to render all scores from the Spring 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment as invalid due to corruption and fraud. We don’t know how many students and parents were given choices like this. And the results are meaningless.
One parent notified me the only reason she didn’t opt her child out, even though this deal was offered, was because she was choicing their child out of Freire into another district. That district had a requirement for Smarter Balanced results in order for the student to enter their honors program. While I may not agree with that requirement from the other district, it is their right to require it until a law is set in stone for them not to. But Freire proceeded to not have the student take the final exam and gave the student an A for both their Math and English/Language Arts final exams. Also against policy with the Delaware DOE, parents and students were given the scores when they were “encumbered” which means they couldn’t reveal them at that point. I would have to imagine no schools are able to give out this information until the Delaware State Board of Education discusses them at their board meeting in two days. In fact, scores aren’t even going out to
As for Freire, are you trying to send the message that the Smarter Balanced Assessment is more important than a parent’s Constitutional right to opt their child out of the state assessment? That it is okay, from a “zero tolerance” school to trick parents and then deliver false scores on final exams to prevent them from exercising that right? Parents chose to send their child to your school because they believed in your “zero tolerance” edicts. While I don’t agree with zero tolerance, it was also a parent’s right to make that choice. But since you have no interest in applying “zero tolerance” to your own school, I would strongly suggest the Delaware Department of Education Charter School Office immediately conducts a thorough investigation into these allegations through the formal review process. For a school that hasn’t even been open a year and Governor Markell attended your ribbon-cutting ceremony, these egregious actions are unconscionable. This is why these standardized tests bring out the worst in schools.
I would also urge our General Assembly, upon reconvening on January 7th, 2017, to immediately draft legislation in regards to opt out, similar to House Bill 50, and also addressing immediate consequences for schools that use lies and false pretenses toward parents and students have anyone involved in those situations immediately terminated and criminal charges pressed against them. And if a new Governor should veto such legislation, I would expect an immediate override of that veto. Those who voted no on January 14th, 2016: this is on you! Please don’t play political games for political favors when you aren’t the ones who are being toyed with by those who should know better.
If any other Delaware parent out there, at any charter school or district was offered similar “deals” or promises in exchange for not opting your child out, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I give you my assurance all will be confidential. Thank you.