The Delaware Senate just passed House Bill 50 by a vote of 15-6. The very controversial parent opt-out bill now travels to Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s desk. Will he sign it? Veto it? I just asked his Education Policy Advisor Lindsey O’Mara and she does not know what he is going to do.
If he vetoes the bill, he faces the wrath of many Delaware parents. If he signs the bill he is sure to tick off US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a legion of corporate education reformers in Delaware. Whatever the result, the passage of this bill in the 148th General Assembly honors a parents right to opt their child out of standardized assessments in Delaware. It will also prevent schools or the state Department of Education from bullying or intimidating parents when they choose to opt their child out. It shows respect and tolerance of parent wishes which is the heart of the legislation.
Thank you to State Rep. John Kowalko and Senator Dave Lawson for sponsoring the bill, along with the Delaware PTA who came through time and time again. As well, the Delaware State Educators Association, and the hundreds of parents who fought very hard for this bill. This is a major victory and you should all be proud!
On May 15th, Congressman Tom Reed from New York introduced H. R. #2382, a parent opt-out bill that would allow parents to opt out of any standardized assessment required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. For many states, this would include the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the PARCC Assessment. Co-sponsored by Democrat Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut and Republican Chris Gibson from New York, the bill will go to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
I would strongly urge all supporters of parent opt-out to contact their United States Representatives and Senators. If this bill goes through it would make this the law of the entire country. No text for the proposed legislation has been released at this point, but it will certainly be one to follow closely. Two of the main sponsors are from New York, which had the most amount of opt-outs in the entire country. If you currently have a parent opt-out bill in your own state, don’t think this will replace that. If this bill does not pass and your state bill does, it would be more fuel to get something through at a Federal level down the road.