Brandywine Superintendent Holodick Says Parents Can’t Opt Out, Not Your Choice Buddy

Brandywine School District

 “I am uninterested in a game of political chess that uses our kids as pawns.”

Brandywine School District Superintendent Mark Holodick came out with a message on the district website stating parents can only opt out under certain medical circumstances and with approval from the district.  But what he fails to realize is this is not his choice.  It is a parents choice.  Nice intimidation there Mr. Holodick, but parents are savvier then these bullying tactics.  If you were truly against increased assessments in Delaware, you would be much more public with this internal policy in your mind.  This is not some political thing.  It is parents speaking up for their children and saying “STOP”.  The very fact that you would see this as a political thing speaks volumes about what is on your mind.  Your arrogance in presuming to know what parents’ motivations are for opting their child out is a disgrace, and you need to offer a public apology.  No wonder the Delaware DOE loves you!

Read Holodick’s entire statement below:

Message from Superintendent Holodick
March 2015

Dear BSD Community,
Over the past several weeks, there has been some discussion about the new state assessment, Smarter, and many people have been asking for BSD’s position on testing.  As a former principal and now as Superintendent, I have always supported state assessments.  They provide information on what students know and can do, and test reports enable teachers and administrators to deepen their understanding of student progress and identify gaps to help students succeed from grade to grade.  I understand that not all parents agree on the value of state assessments and that this issue is becoming increasingly political.  That being said, I also understand that some students have legitimate issues that may necessitate an exemption from high stakes testing.  We have always reviewed those exemption requests, and this year will be no different. 
The process for requesting an exemption from the Smarter assessment will be the same as it always has been in BSD.  Parents who wish to request an exemption for a medical issue should submit a letter to the school their child attends.  The letter should include any relevant documentation, where applicable.  Once the letter has been received by the school, the principal will review it and forward it to District Office for final approval by me or my designee as appropriate.  As in years past, the exemption request must cover the entire testing window.  For students in grades 3-8, the window is March 10 through June 4.  For students in grade 11, the window is April 13 to June 4.  
This process, which has been our standard for at least the five+ years I have been Superintendent, is fair and impartial.  Legitimate concerns will be addressed as they always have been; however, I am uninterested in a game of political chess that uses kids as pawns.  While I support state assessments in principle, I do believe we have entered an era of over-assessment.  I too am a parent of children who will be taking assessments this spring.  In my role as Superintendent, I have been proud to serve as a representative of our district and lobby for our parents and students – with DOE, state legislators, and even the federal government.  I will continue to advocate for our parents, teachers, and of course students to try to strike a healthier balance between teaching/learning and testing.   I hope that we can all put politics aside and work together so that we can best support the people who matter most – our children.  
Mark A. Holodick, Ed.D.
I have just emailed Dr. Holodick with the following message: