Schools In Delaware Get Ugly By Using SBAC Scores Or Opt Out To Deny Student Access To AP Classes

Parent Opt Out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Smarter Balanced Assessment, Test Abuse

In the past week, I have heard from several parents in our state that their children are not getting into AP or advanced classes based on either their Smarter Balanced scores or the fact that their parents opted them out of the test.  This is a horrible idea.  Some of these students are straight A students.  What the hell is wrong with these Principals and Superintendents who are making these foolish decisions?  While I won’t name schools or districts due to the privacy of these families, I think these actions are abusive on unheard of levels.


When did Smarter Balanced become the barometer of student success in Delaware?   The sole purpose of this test is to understand where our children compare to each other, so we can reduce the so-called achievement gaps.  Now it is turning into a punitive measurement tool and it is affecting many lives.  What kind of sick and twisted crap is this?  Who is mandating this?  Is it the Delaware DOE or the districts themselves?  The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a fraudulent test.  It is horrible and how anyone can think this test in any way should decide what classes a student takes needs to take a look at what true education is all about.


We are gearing our kids toward this ridiculous notion of “rigor” at a very early age in Delaware.  I get that children need to read at earlier ages.  But the way we are going about it, by taking away play time and stripping these innocent children from the very creativity which allows them to grow as a human being is truly sad.


Every single parent of a Delaware student this is happening to needs to be very loud and vocal.  They need to tell the school Principal this is unacceptable.  If the Principal doesn’t bend, go to the Superintendent.  If the Superintendent doesn’t bend, go to the School Board.  Go to the State Board of Education.  Go to the media.  Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, Delaware State News, and the News Journal.  Spread this to everyone you know on Facebook and other social media.  Email your friends and family about this.  Nothing in Delaware ever changes unless the people speak.  And on this issue, parents MUST speak.  And for those parents who don’t have kids in AP classes, if they are doing this to those students, just imagine how they are classifying other kids.  The best thing you can all do is opt out in mass numbers to make this waste of a test invalid.  That is the greatest option to end the destruction of public education.  You need to advocate for your child.  You are their parent.  If they are a victim of this insane testing abuse, you have to speak up for them.  Do not believe the lies far too many schools, districts, education non-profits like Rodel, and certain legislators are telling you.

It’s bad enough the Delaware DOE endorses ethical trickery with parents who try to opt their kids out.  It’s bad enough the Smarter Balanced Assessment students take isn’t the same test for every student (which in my mind makes this test worth less than fools gold).  But now we have this.  This is a state assessment.  Not a district mandated, or even school related assessment.  It was created by the state for state usage.  It should have absolutely no bearing on a student’s classroom progress.  Using Smarter Balanced as a competency-based model of student achievement is not a good idea at all.


Can you imagine how students feel, who try their best in school, only to be victimized because of a once a year test?  The heartbreak they feel, like they just aren’t good enough.  This is what Delaware education has become, a travesty of epic proportions.  We have turned the Smarter Balanced Assessment into the center of education.  If it isn’t data walls, it’s accountability.  If it isn’t libraries closing for weeks at a time, it is teacher evaluations based on this wretched test.  If it isn’t state special education ratings from the feds, it’s standards-based IEPs designed to “help” kids do better on this test.  If it isn’t reshuffling of classrooms to have high-performing SBAC students help low-performing SBAC students, it’s fighting parents when they don’t want their kids taking the test.  If it isn’t students with disabilities being forced to take this test for 2-3 times longer than their peers, it’s the State Board of Education passing opt-out penalties in their school report card accountability joke.  This is NOT the best test Delaware ever made, despite Governor Markell’s comments to the contrary.


When the 149th General Assembly reconvenes in January, their top priority needs to be setting firm laws dictating what this test can and can’t be used for.  They also need to finish the job with opt out and codify a parent’s right to opt their child out of these punitive tests without penalty to the student in any way, whether it is AP classes, graduation, summer school, standards-based IEPs, abuse by administration, or denying a student the ability to choice to another school.  This could have been written into law last January.  I warned them then this issue was only going to get worse.  My advice was unheeded by the majority of them.  Those that supported the override attempt know the real deal.  Those who didn’t need to seriously rethink their position on this.

And for any school in this state that has any type of data wall up in classrooms or anywhere in your schools with student names on them, take them down now.  The days of shaming students for a state assessment are done.  If any parent sees these data walls in any school, please take a picture of them and send them to me at and I will file a Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) complaint the very same day.  I will need to know the name of the school and the district.  I am in the process of filing a few of these today.

The abuse of students in this state needs to stop.  These are children, not testing guinea pigs for the data freaks.  Is this really what education is about?  Mental torture of children?  All in the name of progress and accountability.  I don’t think so.  People wonder why I am so passionate about education.  This is the main reason.  What we are doing to kids.  We are destroying the future.



15 thoughts on “Schools In Delaware Get Ugly By Using SBAC Scores Or Opt Out To Deny Student Access To AP Classes

  1. What you are describing is an unconscionable disgrace. I hope that parents speak up and legislators step up to put an end to this travesty. Here is a video I found of an elementary class in Japan. This is the antithesis of what the education “reformers” are doing to our children. Children think. Children have feelings. They cannot be objectified and datafied. Human teachers need to relate to human children. The technocratic/elitist/digitized education agenda needs to be exposed and dismantled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I agree that this is wrong, I would like to know who is telling the kids these scores? You know that I like Common Core and my kids do well on the SBAC, however, they have no clue what their scores are. They don’t even ask. I think it is a huge disservice to let your kids know these scores. Of course they feel like a failure, however, if you don’t tell them, then they don’t know.


    1. You can see the scores when the student submits the test. Teacher usually write down the score do they do not have to wait for the state to officially send it. I have personally seen children cry but they went down.


      1. Is this just for older kids? My kids don’t really talk about the test or their score. I am positive that my kid would have told me.


  3. Good luck getting people to speak up. I hear complaints all the time from parents but it remains just that a complaint. More parents need to step up and go the their school boards. It can’t always be the same parent going and complaining. It’s frustrating to go before a board and say and “other” parents are saying the same thing. Yes, there are those parents that will go over and over and be the lone person standing for multiple parents. We need MORE parents to step up to the plate and voice their complaints.


  4. Actually, whereas Kevin pushes going to the schools/principals/superintendents first to complain… (remember, though sympathetic, they too have to answer to the enemy), you should go to legislators friendly to public education…. and tell them your story first…..

    Here are a few sympathetic ears… (add more if you can)

    Kimberly Williams
    John A. Kowalko Jr.
    Paul S. Baumbach
    Sean Matthews
    Charles Potter Jr.

    I stress telling your story to them first, for these people have power to change things. Your principal can choose only of two things: risk his career by agreeing with you and disobeying his direct orders to the contrary, or say, sorry, it is what it is… Most likely choice 2 is what you will get, UNLESS you go first to any of those 5 above…

    Now that said…. now that I’ve made it public, if none of these hear anything from you… they like me, will have to assume that all the tears were crocodile and it really wasn’t worth anyones time to take of the fight after all….

    If you were affected by this?
    Do what you have to do…………………………..


  5. We don’t give the Smarter Balanced test at the high school level anymore (we use the SAT for accountability purposes), so I don’t understand how SBAC scores could be used to place students in AP classes.


  6. Children do not need to read at earlier ages. Introducing this rigor to 4 and 5 year olds just begins the long decline. AP classes are supposed to be college level classes and the push for APs in the last 10 years has lowered the academic level of these classes. They should be hard for high school kids. That said- Taking a random (I won’t even go into the non-valid, unproven, unreliable argument!) standardized test to be allowed into these classes is also ridiculous. There isn’t a college in our country that uses JUST the SAT to determine acceptance. In high school we should be encouraging kids to strive high and then allow them to pull back if it’s just too difficult, without the stigma of failure. If a student goes into an AP class and realizes in November that they just can’t cut it, they should be able to pull back into the Honors or CP class and be proud of themselves for trying. That is hard in our big high schools, but it is good education.


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