As the Smarter Balanced Assessment draws closer, more parents are catching on to the opt out movement. Tonight at the Capital Board meeting, a parent read a brief public comment she was opting her son out and gave a letter to the board. Later on in the meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution to support the House Bill to allow Parent Opt Out but wanted to add language concerning school protections. Superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas was concerned, and rightly so in my opinion, about the implications this could have on teachers and principals at the schools. I actually advised the board at this point the bill was submitted today with new language to add certain protections for schools.
The bill will be released tomorrow with a House Bill number as per Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko. From there, it will go to the House Education Committee. If it moves on from there, it would be voted on by the House, and would then go to the Senate if approved. If it passes, it would go to Governor Markell to sign into law. This is where it could get tricky. If enough parents are behind this, Markell would have a public relations nightmare if he refused to sign this. But he is a lame-duck and firmly in the pockets of the corporate education reformers. Which is why parents need to make a lot of noise about this NOW!
Board member Matthew Lindell said the bill has the same type of language in Capital’s resolution from October which passed. The Capital resolution stated there would be no penalty against students if they were opted out of the state assessment. Board President Kay Dietz-Sass said she has personally had about 70 inquiries into opt out by concerned parents.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment testing window begins March 10th, and ends on June 4th. Parents have 20 days to opt their child out of this test. We need many more with the brave courage of the parents who have already done this. We also need a count, so if you have opted your child out, let me know. If you would prefer privacy, you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are a special needs parent, and you are still on the fence about this, just be prepared for hell to be unleashed once this test starts. You can stop that from happening.