Jonathan Pelto is an education blogger and founder and manager of the Education Bloggers Network. HIs blog, What, What? can be found at: http://jonathanpelto.com/
School Superintendents! Stop harassing parents for opting their children out of the Common Core SBAC Test
With the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Testing beginning in less than a month, more and more parents are informing their local school districts that they have decided that their children will not be taking the unfair, discriminatory and inappropriate Common Core SBAC tests this year.
Parents who understand the issues associated with the Common Core SBAC Testing Scam are opting their children out.
Despite repeated posts here at Wait, What? and the work of a number of state-wide efforts to inform state and local officials that they must respect a parent’s fundamental right to opt their children out of the Common Core SBAC Test, a significant number of local school superintendents, and their staff, continue to mislead parents, throw up barriers or harass parents into believing that they have lost their right to protect their children from an unfair test that is rigged to ensure that as many as 7 in 10 children fail.
So once again, let us be clear!
- There is no federal or state law, regulation or policy that prohibits a parent or guardian from opting their children out of these inappropriate, unfair and discriminatory tests.
- There is no federal or state law, regulation or policy that allows the government or local school districts to punish parents or their children if the parent refuses to allow their child or children to participate in the Common Core SBAC testing scam.
Not only is there no law, regulation or policy that prohibits parents from opting their children out of the Common Core SBAC test, but although the Malloy administration issued a memo last year instructing superintendents, principals and local school officials on how to mislead parents, when Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education was finally brought before the General Assembly’s Education Committee on March 12, 2014 to address concerns surrounding the Common Core and Common Core SBAC testing system, Commissioner Pryor admitted that,
“On an individual level, I don’t believe that there’s any specific provision in law regarding consequences… To my knowledge there are no state provisions that are specific, or no federal provisions that are specific to an individual student.”
The Chairman of the State Board of Education, Attorney Alan Taylor, agreed with the Commissioner and went even further stating that there was no legal action that the state or school district could take to punish a parent or child who opted out of the Common Core SBAC test.
While a law clarifying that parents have the opt their children out of the Common Core SBAC test might be helpful to school officials, and such legislation has been introduced into this year’s General Assembly, the underlying issue would remain the same….A parent’s right to opt their children out of the Common Core SBAC test cannot denied.
The latest inappropriate effort to mislead parents comes from Bristol Connecticut, where the Assistant Principal of Bristol High School was put into the unenviable position of trying to instruct Chris, a mother of a student at Bristol High School that she could not opt her child out of the Common Core SBAC Test.
Bristol High School’s Assistant Principal wrote;
“Connecticut State Statute mandates that all students take the Smarter Balanced Assessment…No provision has been made to “opt out” of these tests. Dr. Solek our superintendent has instructed that you will need to submit your request in writing outlining your specific reasons for not taking the test. She, in turn, will alert the CT State Department of Education.”
Yes, Connecticut does have a law that states that all students shall take Mastery Test in grades 3-8 and in 11th grade. However, putting aside the fact that the Common Core SBAC test is hardly a true mastery test, state and local school officials know that, on average, about 30,000 Connecticut public school students have failed to take the Connecticut Mastery Test each and every year.
And the 30,000 students who have failed to take the Connecticut Master Test were not punished and could not have been punished by state or the local school district for failing to take the Mastery Test
State and local education officials also know that Connecticut State Statute 10-14n(e) states,
“No public school may require achievement of a satisfactory score on a mastery examination, or any subsequent retest on a component of such examination as the sole criterion of promotion or graduation.”
If public schools may not require satisfactory achievement on a mastery examination in order to move the child up a grade or graduate, then school districts certainly can’t require an unsatisfactory grade or no grade at all on the mastery test as a requirement to promote or graduate a student.
The notion that students must take the test or else has no basis in law or practice in the state of Connecticut and the abuse of students and their parents by state and local school officials has got to stop.
If Governor Malloy and his Commissioner of Education want to legally prevent parents from opting their children out of the destructive Common Core SBAC Test then they need to introduce legislation to that end and convince a majority of the members of the Connecticut General Assembly to pass a law that forbids parents from opting their children out and providing the state and local districts with a mechanism to punish parents or their children if the students do not take the unfair Common Core SBAC Test.
And while Governor Malloy ponders taking that step, the truth is that this is still America and the reality here in Connecticut is that THERE IS NO LAW that prevents parents from opting their children out of the Common Core SBAC test.
Enough is enough – state and local school officials must stop misleading and harassing parent about their fundamental rights.
If you are told by your school district that you can’t opt your child out of the Common Cores SBAC Test, please send that correspondence here to Wait, What? (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can warn other parents in that district.
Other Wait, What? Blog posts about this issue include;
In addition, parents can get more information about opting their children out of the Common Core SBAC test via the following links;