This has been my biggest beef with the opposition of Regulation 225. So many of those who are full-throttle opposed to it do not want the State of Delaware dictating something that could deny them their parental rights. They don’t want schools making decisions on behalf of their children without their consent. But they have been doing this for years! And you have had the most powerful weapon at your disposal and have not utilized it!
Every year, the public school children of Delaware are forced to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It is a worthless test that really tells you nothing about your child. You don’t get the results until AFTER the school year is over. It doesn’t tell you what your child’s key strengths are. It doesn’t tell you anything. But you allow your child to sit in front of a computer over a three-week period and take a test. Based on Common Core which many of you can’t stand already.
If you stand for parental rights and deciding how your child should be educated, you can’t do it in small chunks. You need to do it full throttle, in ALL aspects. If you want to tell the state that YOU are the parent and YOU make the best decisions for your kids, do it all the way.
If you truly believe in parental rights, you will prove that by opting your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment which starts in a few weeks in many of our schools. I have seen thousands of you oppose a regulation you believe is harmful. But I can guarantee you the Smarter Balanced Assessment has been pumping out data about your own child to education companies around the country. I can guarantee you it is a complete waste of time, money, and resources when our kids could be getting a more well-rounded education. But you let the State do this every single year. Some kids do bad on those kind of tests. It doesn’t mean they need extra intervention. Some kids ace those tests and may not get good grades. It doesn’t mean they don’t need intervention. Students with disabilities usually do terrible on those tests because the accommodations for them are horrible. Three years of this test and we are expected to believe it is a good test? The needle hasn’t moved at all. And it is based on Common Core.
Governor Carney wants more Math coaches in our schools based on his proposed budget. He wants those coaches in middle schools. Do you know why? Because the foundations of Common Core begin in the earlier grades. And it’s been around long enough that kids who were once in elementary school are now in middle school and don’t get the math! Our kids can’t stand Common Core math. Parents can’t stand it. If we need more math coaches in middle schools it is because COMMON CORE MATH DOESN’T WORK! But every year we let the state give our kids a test on it and then the state says “our schools need help” because of the test results. This is just one reason why I am befuddled with those who oppose Regulation 225!
You say you don’t want our schools doing this but you have ignored what they have already been doing for years. And here is the kicker: the schools hate these tests as well. They won’t tell you that, but they know it. It is state and federal driven, but behind that curtain is a whole bunch of companies that are profiting off YOUR kid based on the results of these tests. And don’t let anyone tell you we will lose all federal funding over opt out. It hasn’t happened in any other state. In New York and New Jersey they had more kids opt out than the entire population of Delaware. If you want to bring sanity back to education, it starts here. I don’t bemoan you opposing this regulation. It is your right to oppose something you don’t want for your child. What I do bemoan is parents not getting involved enough. When they are ignoring what is so clearly right before their very eyes.
If you REALLY want to send a message to the Delaware Department of Education and Secretary Bunting, you should opt our child out tomorrow or today based on when you read this. All you need to do is write a simple letter to the school:
Dear Principal ______, of (insert school name here),
I am opting my child, ________ __________, out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I expect my child to attend school on the days the test is administered and receive educational instruction while the other students take the test. I do not want a call from the Principal or any teachers telling me why I should not opt my child out. As well, I do not want to receive any letters from the school or district based on the Delaware Department of Education template letter indicating I can not opt my child out. Furthermore, I will not tolerate any type of retaliation or punitive action against my child over my fundamental right to opt my child out. This type of retaliation includes, but is not exclusive to, any threat of summer school, holding them back a year, or any type of isolation activity.
Thank you for your time,
After you give this to the Principal of the school, as in hand-deliver it to them, have them sign an acknowledgment form that they received your opt out letter for your child. This way they can’t say later they never got it. It can be as simple as this:
I acknowledge that I have received an opt out letter from ______ ______, parent or guardian of ______ ________.
When you have done this, start taking a serious look at the enormous amount of data collection already going on with your child. Start looking at EVERYTHING and ask yourself “Is this what I want for my child?” If the answer is no, don’t stop with opting out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Educate yourself. Read. Learn. Don’t listen to what places like the Rodel Foundation and the Delaware DOE are telling you. Listen to what other parents and teachers at the ground level have been saying for years. Those who of us who have been in the trenches and calling our legislators and Governors out for their totalitarian approaches to education. Don’t believe the Delaware DOE is miraculously turning into a “support organization”. Because that support is designed to drive up test scores on an already flawed test. And just wait until they turn that once a year test into stealth assessments, throughout the year. Make your move now or your child and grandchildren will deal with the long-term consequences for the rest of their lives. This isn’t something you should hem and haw on. You shouldn’t mull it over. You should just do it.