I’ve obtained a copy of the sample letter parents can expect to receive if they opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. There is a lot of threatening statements in this letter, but THEY HAVE NO MERIT ACCORDING TO THE LAW!!!!
Parents, do not be threatened by this vain attempt by the Delaware DOE to prevent you from honoring your constitutional right to determine what is best for your child’s education!!!
LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCY (LEA)
This letter is in response to your request to have your child not participate in mandated state testing, which will be administered this spring. Unfortunately, (LEA) has no discretion in the matter. Federal and state laws require that public-school students be tested.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), which was amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires all states to implement “high-quality, yearly student academic assessments.” 20 U.S.C. § 6311(b) (3)(A). The statute further provides that “[s]uch assessments shall . . . provide for . . . the participation in such assessments of all students.” 20 U.S.C. § 6311(b)(3)(C) (emphasis added). The ESEA does not allow parents to exempt their children from taking the state assessments.
Delaware State Code also is clear that school districts and individuals shall not “exclude a student from participation in the state assessment except in accordance with the regulations of the Department” (Title 14, Chapter 1, Subchapter IV § 173).
The only exemptions allowed under the law due to extreme medical incidents or for reasons of mental health of the child. Each requires documentation from a physician.
Both federal and state statutes are clear in their language—that all students enrolled in public schools must take the yearly state assessments. The Delaware Department of Education and each school district and charter school must comply with federal and state mandates.
If you have any questions, please contact (NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR LEA CONTACT PERSON).
(SUPERINTENDENT/CHARTER DIRECTOR’S NAME)
(LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCY NAME)
So let’s take a look at the specific codes they are mentioning:
20 U.S.C. § 6311(b)
(3) Academic assessments
(A) In general
Each State plan shall demonstrate that the State educational agency, in consultation with local educational agencies, has implemented a set of high-quality, yearly student academic assessments that include, at a minimum, academic assessments in mathematics, reading or language arts, and science that will be used as the primary means of determining the yearly performance of the State and of each local educational agency and school in the State in enabling all children to meet the State’s challenging student academic achievement standards, except that no State shall be required to meet the requirements of this part relating to science assessments until the beginning of the 2007–2008 school year.
The State shall have such academic standards for all public elementary school and secondary school children, including children served under this part, in subjects determined by the State, but including at least mathematics, reading or language arts, and (beginning in the 2005–2006 school year) science, which shall include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all children.
Such assessments shall—
(i) be the same academic assessments used to measure the achievement of all children;
(ii) be aligned with the State’s challenging academic content and student academic achievement standards, and provide coherent information about student attainment of such standards;
(iii) be used for purposes for which such assessments are valid and reliable, and be consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical standards;
(iv) be used only if the State educational agency provides to the Secretary evidence from the test publisher or other relevant sources that the assessments used are of adequate technical quality for each purpose required under this chapter and are consistent with the requirements of this section, and such evidence is made public by the Secretary upon request;
And the Delaware Code, from Title 14:
§ 173. Data reporting violations.
School districts and individuals shall not:
(1) Fail to report assessment scores, numbers of students administered the assessments any other data element required to be reported to the Department;
(2) Report incorrect or otherwise inaccurate assessment scores, numbers of students administered the assessments or any other data element required to be reported to the Department;
(3) Exclude a student from participation in the state assessment except in accordance with the regulations of the Department;
(4) Refuse to disclose to the Department information concerning a violation of the foregoing data reporting requirements; or
(5) Refuse to cooperate in the investigation of a suspected data reporting violation, whether such investigation is conducted by a school district or the Department. The investigation shall include a review of mitigating circumstances, if applicable.
73 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, §§ 42, 43.;
Now who are these individuals? Does this refer to any parent who opts their child out of Smarter Balanced? Or do they mean individuals who are employed by the school district? The next paragraph in the code makes this VERY clear:
§ 174. Civil sanctions for violations.
(a) A student who violates any of the provisions of § 172 of this title shall be subject to the following:
(1) At the discretion of the Department, the assessment score of such student may be invalidated and the student may be declared ineligible to retake the assessment until the next official testing opportunity; and
(2) Such disciplinary action as deemed appropriate by the student’s school district.
(b) An individual other than a student who knowingly violates any of the provisions of this subchapter shall be subject to the following:
(1) Such personnel sanctions as might otherwise be imposed by the individual’s employer for an act of misconduct;
(2) A hearing conducted by the Professional Standards Board to determine revocation of any license issued to such individual pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 12 of this title; and
(3) Payment of any costs incurred by the State or Department as a result of the violation.
73 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 44.;
As well, the law defines who these individuals are:
(4) ”Individual” means a student, teacher, administrator, local or state school board member, or other employee, agent or contractor employed by the Delaware public school system whether local or at the state level, and including an employee, agent or contractor of a charter school;
Did you see the word “parent” on that list? I sure as hell didn’t! If you are going to cite law, don’t just throw arbitrary paragraphs out there when others ones contradict what you are trying to accomplish. I don’t think the Professional Standards Board can revoke my license to be a parent. No one can take away my right to opt my son out as it is currently written in the law. Once again parents, do not be fooled!