Archive for the ‘High Stakes Testing Pushback’ Tag

Will Utah Quash Families’ Opt-Out Rights?   4 comments

Many tens of thousands of public school students, whose parents regularly opt out of Common Core testing, may lose the right to do so.

When federal ESSA passed in 2015, it claimed veto power for the federal education department– over every state’s educational plan.  Utah humbly asked the feds for a waiver, so that Utah would remain free to opt out of federally promoted tests. (Until this time, Utahns were unquestionably protected by state law that claims primary authority for parents, with schools/state in a supporting role.) The federal department said no to Utah’s waiver request.

So, state school board and legislators are in a pickle:  will they honor state law and protect parental rights, or honor federal ESSA’s unconstitutional veto power, and force all parents to force all children to take Common Core tests?

The state school board is divided on this question.  –That’s interesting, since the Utah board was not even permitted by the state superintendent to vote on our new plan –which the federal government has now vetoed.

 

Michelle Boulter, Utah State School Board

 

Michelle Boulter of the state board says:

“…In short, the public was not given the chance to weigh in on the ESSA plan because those who were elected to represent them were never given the chance to see or to vote on the new plan. Instead, administration and a single board member presented a plan to the federal DOE that puts it in direct conflict with Utah State lawa state law which prohibits the violation of natural parental rights. In the end, after being denied repeatedly, Utah became fully compliant with Federal dictates, setting aside the promise of the state’s ability to forge their own educational path.

And now, thanks to further ESSA provisions, Utah must submit to federal “auditing” – an invasive probe to determine why so many parents are opting out of assessments, and thereby placing non-compliant schools in a status of “failure” or “remediation”, to be put under the purview of federal overseers.

… exactly what is the paltry amount of funding Utah receives from the federal government? Unfortunately, the answer will shock and anger you: a whopping 6% of our entire educational budget for the 2017-2018 school year. Of that, the amount Utah stands to lose if it stops playing this ridiculous game of “Mother May I” is significantly less (around 2% of Utah’s educational budget).

Utah parents, we are literally selling our birthright as the natural guardians of our children for a mess of pottage – and a pathetically meager mess of pottage at that. And why is the amount so small? Because any dollar that is sent to Washington naturally shrinks as it goes through its laundered process of paying the salaries, benefits, and pensions of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. That dollar shrinks to practically nothing before it ever comes back to the states…

…This isn’t about opting out of a test; this is about where we believe our rights come from. Either our rights come from God or man. It should be unacceptable to all Utah parents that we must ask permission of the federal government concerning our children. I urge parents to contact their state legislators requiring them to come up with that 6% – by spending less somewhere else – so we can take back our children’s education. Please contact your State Board members [ Board@schools.utah.gov  ] and let them know that you expect them to defend your parental rights. This is an election year and we the people hold the power.”

After reading state school board member Michelle Boulter’s letter and local Alpine District board member Wendy Hart’s comments on the subject, I wrote to the state board. Kathleen Riebe wrote back. Here is that exchange.  –And here is the email if you want to write, too: Board@schools.utah.gov

 

 

Letter one: 

Dear Board,
ESSA is pressuring Utah to subvert our state laws and parental rights. Please don’t do it.
I agree with state school board member Michelle Boulter, who wrote:
https://electmichelleboulter.com/2018/08/08/the-state-of-utah-is-negotiating-away-parental-rights
Similarly, ASD school board Wendy Hart said to the state board:
http://wendy4asd.blogspot.com/2018/08/essa-opt-out-denial-from-feds-my.html

Wendy Hart, Alpine District School Board

It’s a terrible idea to pit teachers against parents who opt out of Common core tests.  Caving to federal demands that the state quash testing opt outs does that.
The problem isn’t the parents opting kids out of Common Core testing, nor can we blame teachers/schools who, fearing mislabeling due to low scores resulting from opt outs, might pressure parents to opt in.
The problem is office of education bureaucrats who mindlessly swallow unconstitutional suggestions made by the federal DOE, and who misadvise state school board members, without respect for principles of local control, telling them to nod and sign.
Listen to the wisdom of elected officials who have spoken clearly on the ESSA situation: Michelle Boulter and Wendy Hart. They point out that we can and must protect the state’s liberties as well as relationships between parents and teachers.
As an opting-out parent  of children in public schools, and as a certified Utah teacher, thank you.
Christel Swasey
Pleasant Grove
Response one:

Thank you for your concern.

As a parent, teacher and a taxpayer, I appreciate that my students have an opportunity to display their knowledge and that they were taught the content required. About 90% of our families share my feelings.

Transparency and accountability are major concerns of my constituents.

USBE has worked hard to find a solution with the federal government.  The board will follow the laws and work with the legislature to seek new funding to ensure the best opportunities for all our students.

Kathleen Riebe M.Ed.

State School Board Member

District 10

801-599-5753

Letter two:

Dear Kathleen,
Thank you for responding.
There are over 650,000 enrolled public school students in the state of Utah. If about 90 percent are opting to participate in Common Core testing, that leaves about 65,000 students, and 130,000 parents, who are opting out. That’s no small potatoes.
Does it feel right to you to eliminate the authority and conscience of 195,000  Utahns, especially considering the fact that Utah law places primary authority to parents, with the state/schools in a secondary, supporting role.
They’re opting out for a plethora of very valid, very important reasons. Some kids become anxious and depressed to the point of suicidal behaviors due to high-pressure testing. Some parents don’t approve of the secretive nature of the tests, and of the tests’ never having been tested or validated independently. Some parents oppose psychometric evaluation embedded in academic tests. Some parents recognize that these tests pressure schools and teachers, even against their school charters and their professional judgment, to redefine their curriculum and teaching traditions.
I implore you to support the rights of these people and the Utah law that puts parental / family authority first in education.
Sincerely,
Christel Swasey
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National Common Core News Update   4 comments

capitol roof

Truth in American Education and Principal Bob Schaeffer of Colorado have compiled most of the following information and I thank them for it.

First, here are many of the Common Core, testing and student data privacy pushback bills  happening right now, almost all over this nation:

Alabama tba; Arizona: SB 1121 SB 1153 SB 1095 HB 2316 SB 1310 ; Arkansas: HR 1007 SR 4; Colorado: SB 14-136; Connecticut: SB 53 Florida: PCB KTS 14-01:  See Karen Effrem’s analysis of it here; HB 25 CS/HB 195 CS/SB 188 SB 232 SB 864 ; GeorgiaB 167 SB 203 ; Illinois: HR0543 SR0638; Indiana:  SB 91This bill has passed the Senate 36-12 and will be considered by the Indiana House; Iowa HF 2140 HF 2141 SF 2123; Kansas tba; Kentucky: HB 5  HF 215;  Louisiana:  Here’s an article that discusses the work being done; Maryland: HB 76 SB 0578   SB 0579 SB 0408 Minnesota tba;  Mississippi  SB 2736; Missouri: HB 1708 HJR 74 SB 514  SB 798 SB 819 ; New Hampshire: HB 1239 HB 1508  HB 1262 HB 1586 HB 1496 HB 1587 HB 1238; New Jersey: S. 2973 A. 4403; New Mexico: SB 296: New York:  A07994  S6604  S06267;  Ohio: HB 237 HB 181 HB 193 HB 413; Oklahoma: HB 2786 HB 2849 HB 3331 HB 3166  HB 3399 SB 1146 SB 1310 Rhode Island: H 7095 South Carolina: SB 300 H. 3943 South Dakota: HB 1237:   South Dakotans Against Common Core is against this bill.  You can read why here. HB 1214 HB 1187 HB 1243 SB 63; Tennessee:  SB 2405 HB 1549 SB 1835 (Tennessee Against Common Core is not excited about this bill.) HB 1826 HB 1825 SB 1985 HB 1828 SB 1984 HB 2253 HB 1697 HB 1696 HB 1841 HB 2453 SB 2559 HB 2290 SB 2057  HB 1882 SB 1470  HB 1705 Utah tba; Wisconsin tba;  Wyoming: HB 0097

(To see a brief analysis of each bill, go to Truth in American Education.)

capitol with alyson

If you are a Utahn, did you notice Utah is on the “to be announced” list?  We have no stop Common Core bill yet.  We have too little political pressure from the people upon our leaders.  So please:  please come to the State Capitol next week, on Feb. 18th at 6:30-8:00 to show your concern for this issue.  Please share this event  where we will hear from and speak with legislators, parents and organizations who are opposed to Common Core.  We need large numbers of people to show up and to show support, to get proper protections for our children here in Utah.

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     And here’s more related news:

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Senate Republicans to Obama:  No More Common Core Coercion  http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/05/senate-republicans-no-more-common-core-coercion/#!

Both Houses of New York Legislature Support Two-Year Delay in Common Core Testing
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/05/nyregion/a-call-to-ignore-exam-results-when-evaluating-educators.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Regents Likely to Stall Parts of Common Core Implementation
http://www.pressconnects.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014302100021&gcheck=1

Parents and Educators Outraged by Regents Failure to Address Deeper Flaws
http://www.nysape.org/parents-and-educators-outraged-by-regents-unwillingness-to-assume-responsibility-and-change-course.html

N.Y. PTA Survey Finds Students Stressed Out by Testing, Parents Opposed to Common Core Exams
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/07/new-york-common-core-stress_n_4747863.html?utm_hp_ref=education
Gov. Cuomo Appoints Common Core Proponents to Evaluate Common Core
http://www.nysape.org/new-yorkers-outraged-by-governors-flawed-common-core-panel.html

Missouri Board of Ed. Plans Major Reduction in Testing
http://www.semissourian.com/story/2047976.html

Alaska State Board of Education Supports Graduation Test Repeal
http://www.frontiersman.com/schools/state-board-supports-repeal-of-grad-exam/article_13c15946-8d5a-11e3-ac4b-001a4bcf887a.html

Virginia Senate Votes for Delay in Test-Based School Grades, Reduction in Testing Volume
http://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/article_4e588c5a-8e1d-11e3-bf18-001a4bcf6878.html

Kentucky Ed. Commissioner: Kids Over-tested, Scores Misused
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20140206/NEWS0103/302060040/Holliday-kids-overtested-schools-overburdened

Connecticut Students Say Testing Fixation Kills Learning
http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/community_meeting_raises_concerns_on_testing/

“Guinea Pigs” and “Lab Rats” Storm Rhode Island State House as Student Protest Exit Exam

Students Aren’t “Guinea Pigs” — How Field Testing Hurts Children
http://yinzercation.wordpress.com/news/

Oregon Test is Wrong for Children
http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/02/oregons_kindergarten_test_is_w.html

Parent of Dying Florida Boy Has to Prove Her Son Can’t Take Standardized Tests
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/07/1275853/-Florida-mother-has-to-prove-her-dying-son-can-t-take-a-standardized-test#

Tennessee Teachers Fight Back Against Test-Fixated Evaluations
http://www.tennessean.com/viewart/20140209/NEWS04/302090069/TN-teachers-push-back-evaluation-process

Exit Exams Make Diplomas, Jobs Elusive for Special Education Students
http://hechingerreport.org/content/for-special-education-students-diplomas-jobs-increasingly-elusive_14612/

Technical Problems Plaque Nebraska Online Writing Exam
http://journalstar.com/news/local/education/problems-with-statewide-writing-test-plague-lps-others/article_ff2965f0-6fc4-5568-b41f-581f5cc0e1d1.html

Chicago Opt Out Leaders Push Back Against Chief Executive Officer’s Hollow Threat
http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-public-fools/2014/02/its-almost-testing-season-in-chicago-opt-out-at-your-peril/
The 95% Participation Rate and How Schools Do Not Lose Funding
http://www.nysape.org/if-my-child-refuses-state-tests-will-my-school-lose-funding.html

Test Scores = Voodoo Data for Evaluating Students, Teachers and Schools
http://www.dailycall.com/news/editorials/3572277/Its-all-so-predictable

Colorado School Testers Flunk Themselves
http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_25071195/colorados-school-testers-flunk-themselves

Federal Court Upholds New York City Liability for Teacher Licensing Test Racial Bias
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/2014/02/appeals_court_upholds_nyc_liab.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS3

Tennessee School Board Reconsiders Role of Student Test Scores in Teacher Licensure
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140201/NEWS/302010011/TN-state-board-reconsiders-role-learning-gains-teacher-licenses

Documentary Takes Standardized Testing Fight to Big Screen
http://www.longislandpress.com/2014/02/09/new-documentary-takes-standardized-testing-common-core-battle-to-big-screen/

NJ Professor Releases Common Core-Opposing “Assessments Landscape” Video   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r9_ZpNbU6A

Common Rotten Core Testing ‘Toon
http://www.caglecartoons.com/viewimage.asp?ID=0037B5D8-9059-4A29-91D5-CC42A7B72B4E

Mexico Eliminates National Exam, Test Score Bonuses
http://newspapertree.com/articles/2014/02/05/mexico-chucks-test-bonuses-national-exams

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