If it is February, DOOM will strike Delaware again this year. It just so happens that I am declaring this month Parent Rights Month. This works out perfectly because it is also Delaware Opt-Out Month! This is the month where you should really opt your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The test window begins at the beginning of March. Different schools will take the test at some point between March and the first week of June. These are the things you may hear. Ignore them…
- We will get our funding cut if you opt your child out.
- Our school will get a bad rating.
- Don’t listen to that blogger.
- But House Bill 50 got vetoed and never passed. You can’t opt out.
- It’s against the law to opt your child out.
- We should talk about this first. Can we arrange for a meeting?
- Why don’t you give the test a chance. It really isn’t that bad.
- Only I decide who opts out of the test.
- It is a civil rights violation to opt out.
Whatever the Principal or Superintendent says, ignore it. If your child is in the Capital, Christina, or Red Clay school districts, they shouldn’t be giving you any flack at all. Their boards already voted and said it is okay and they will not punish your child. You have every right to opt your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. There is no law that says you can’t. It is not against the law for you to opt out!!!! Could the feds pull funding? It is remotely possible. But it is also an election year. The feds can threaten all they want, but I would love to actually see them play that card. It’s never happened before. And No Child Left Behind officially ends at the end of July. After that, states are allowed to determine their own opt out rules.
Tomorrow, I’m going to make a list of all the district and charter board meetings this month. If you haven’t opted your child out before, here is how you do it. Write a letter to the Principal of your child’s school. State you do not want your child taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment. As well, let the Principal know you want your child to receive instruction while the other kids are taking the test. Hand deliver a copy to the principal. As extra insurance, I would also write an acknowledgement letter and have the principal sign it. If you can, bring a witness. While these precautions may seem overboard, it is for your own protection as well as that of your child. If the principal or primary school leader refuses to accept your information, yells at you, or acts in a way that in any way appears to be intimidating, please let me know. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can join the Refuse The Test Delaware page on Facebook.
Tomorrow, I will put down every single district or charter school board meeting for February. Others opted out at board meetings last year. It sends a clear message to the decision makers. These are public meetings. You can sign up for public comment when you get to the board meeting.
February is also Parent Rights month. Throughout the month, I will write articles on why your rights matter. In most situations, a parent knows what is best for their child. Our voices are ignored a lot when it comes to education. We are treated as “guests” at many of our schools and that is unacceptable. The Supreme Court recognized the rights of parents many times. It is YOUR child, not the school’s child. Some will tell you when your child walks into school, they are no longer your child but the school or the principal’s child. This is completely false, and actually very damaging. If you don’t want your child to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment, they can’t make your child take it.
I believe in my soul this test has no purpose other than to feed data to outside companies to which they will profit greatly off your child. It won’t help your child. It will cause them anxiety. Some schools are attempting to coerce kids into taking the test by offering some type of reward. A charter school is thinking of giving the top performers tickets to an amusement park. What kind of message does that send? Some children don’t do well on these types of tests no matter how smart they are. Some children have disabilities. How does that make a child feel? Some who take this test will try very hard and they still won’t be proficient. Do we reward the top and tell the others they have to watch as others get awards and rewards? That does far more damage than anything else. Don’t let your child be a pawn in these adult games. Let your child be child. Opt your child out as soon as possible.
*The above photograph was used on the Edubloggers.org website.