Diane Ravitch just wrote about Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of opt-out legislation that passed the Georgia General Assembly. This immediately reminded me of Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s horrible veto of House Bill 50 in the summer of 2015. Say, State Rep. Earl Jaques, why the hell hasn’t the new opt out legislation, House Bill 60, been put on the agenda for the House Education Committee. You promised me it would be over two months ago. Guess it isn’t a priority for YOU so it won’t get on there. Being the Chair of the Delaware House Education Committee means allowing all education bills to be heard in committee.
Opt out is alive and well. I may not write about it as much, but it is still happening. New York continues to have terrific opt out numbers. It won’t be until July or so until we find out Delaware’s opt out numbers for this year. That is when the Delaware Dept. of Education releases all the Smarter Balanced information from this year.
Down in Georgia, Jeb Bush’s insane Foundation for Excellence in Education jumped on the veto bandwagon. Ravitch quoted the Atlanta Journal-Constituion:
“The proposal would have harmed students and teachers by denying access to measurements that track progress on standardized assessments,” the advocacy group, founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said in a statement. “Maintaining a transparent and accountable measurement systems is critical to ensuring students are on track to succeed in college and beyond — and indicates how successful schools are in preparing students for the future.”
Hey Jeb, we don’t want progress on standardized assessments, we just want regular student progress. These flawed and meaningless tests don’t provide that. They feed the data whore beasts and waste a crapload of time in our schools. They stress kids out and the tests are used to label and shame teachers and schools. Enough already!
I’ve heard a few folks say opt-out legislation is useless if there is not legislation to get rid of high-stakes standardized assessments like the Smarter Balanced Assessment or the PARCC. I question this line of thinking for several reasons. Standardized assessments of this sort have been around for a long time, closing in on twenty years in some states. It hasn’t been until the introduction of Common Core about seven years ago that this matter really got national attention.
Parent opt-out is not about waiting around for politicians to discuss whether or not standardized assessments are necessary. It’s about parents already realizing these assessments are not right for our children, and we are exercising a right we already had to control our children’s educational outcome. I fully support opt-out legislation because of how it has been created. Opt-out is a force, an action. It is something people see, on the tv, on social media, and in our very schools. Talking about it really hasn’t changed anything. Knowing others have done it is inspiring other parents to take a look at what is going on and make their own choices for their children. Politicians see this, and the smart ones know which way the wind is blowing. These are voters, and if an overwhelming amount are saying “We want change, and if you don’t do it, we will do it in our own way.”
Opt-out is making people notice what’s going on in education and it is opening the conversation for policy-makers to take a hard look at the impact education reform is having on our children. ESEA reauthorization has been talked about for 8 years now. There are no actual signs of anything happening this year. So parents are doing what is necessary. They are changing the conversation. And we will keep doing it. So for those who want these tests gone, take a hard look at what is happening: parents are opting out all over the country. Our children aren’t taking these tests you want to disappear. It isn’t perfect, but we are closer to getting rid of these bad, disruptive education policies than we have ever been. That didn’t happen because we talked about it. It happened because we took action.