Tomorrow, every major media outlet in Delaware will write about the overhyped release of the 2018 Smarter Balanced Assessment scores. This is the fourth year students had to take this festering steaming pile of manure. It is a malignant test. I won’t be writing about the scores. I could care less if students do better or worse on them. The only thing I will be watching for is how many kids were opted out. That is the only thing worth writing about when it comes to “Smarter” as the folks at the Delaware Department of Education call it.
Delaware taxpayers pay for this test, year in and year out. To the tune of over a hundred million dollars from development to the present. Nothing has changed. Former Governor Jack Markell, who once called the test “the best test Delaware ever made” must have slipped on a banana peel that day. Education Delaware, a Facebook page created by the News Journal for education, asked parents what they think of the test. All the parent comments talked about how bad the test is. Teachers hate it. Students hate it. Parents hate it. Many legislators hate it. So why do we keep giving it? Because of a federal mandate? Delaware didn’t get to be The First State by being a follower. We can be a leader in education reform by telling Betsy DeVos and her merry band of voucher creators over at the U.S. DOE, “No more”. The entire state needs to refuse the test. We need a statewide opt out.
I haven’t been a conductor on the opt out train for a while now. My son will never take the Smarter Balanced Assessment or even have the option. I opted him out this year which was the last year he could have taken it. He never did. I could just give up on opt out since his time has passed, but that would be a disservice to the children of Delaware. And the teachers. And the parents. So expect more out of me in the coming months on this. The best thing parents can do, on the very first day of school, is say no to the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
When you get your kid’s scores in the mail, do something useful with them. Have a bonfire in your backyard and use the scores as the fire starter. Teach your kids how to make origami or paper airplanes out of them. Do experiments with them to show that wet paper cannot hold a paper weight. Donate them to a dog shelter to use as lining for dog poop. If you have a dart board, use them as a target. Crumble them up really tight and put them in a pants pocket and wash them. See how hard the condensed scores get when you take them out of the dryer. Save them for the holidays and use them as wrapping paper for a gag gift. If you really want to make a statement, write down “return to sender” and send them back to the Delaware DOE. There are lots of creative things you can do with these scores if you really try.
I won’t give any meaningful insight into the scores that come out tomorrow because I don’t believe in them.