PARCC, Parents And The Ides of March

An increasing number of parents in Louisiana have decided that the only voice they have with our State Superintendent John White and his compliant Board of Education is in the form of a letter stating their children will not be taking the mysterious PARCC test scheduled for, ironically, the Ides of March.  

Because BESE has no "Opt Out Policy," and BESE President Chas Roemer has refused to call an emergency meeting to address the problem, schools and school districts are scrambling to create their own policies, after the fact. This is what John White refers to as " local control." 

Parents, on the other hand, continue to organize meetings throughout the state, with public officials invited to attend, to determine the least disruptive method to accomplish this in the best interests of their children.   

Parents's efforts have been met with intimidation and warnings and refusals in some instances. That is the way our Department of  Education rolls. Supt. White, by his own admission in public testimony,  believes that holding the threat of state takeover or forced charter transformation will achieve education "equity and excellence."  I believe he knows better and that his efforts are a major strategy to bring about privatization of our public school system.  

 Supt. White declared a moratorium on the high stakes application of student test scores for teacher evaluation and student progression last year and this year. He received an accountability waiver from USEd in December that confirms this "promise" and that also assures the continued intrusion and oversight  by USEd into what should be a locally controlled system of PUBLIC schools.  

The major sticking point in the opt out movement has been a state policy provision that threatens to assign a zero in the school performance score calculation for every student who does not test. The only purpose for this provision is to maintain state level control and the philosophy that threats will bring about compliance.  

Several districts have previously made clear their disdain for Common Core's implementation via school board generated resolutions to BESE.  This week, several boards filed resolutions stating their opposition to the implementation of PARCC and joining the request for BESE to call a special meeting. Thus far no response from BESE. 

This is a sample letter that parents are circulating for parents to officially refuse PARCC testing.  Parents aren't planning to make a surprise attack.  Their interest is in reducing the stress their children are experiencing over these tests.  They believe the controversy over the assignment of zeros to SPS is a problem their elected school boards and district superintendents should be addressing with BESE rather than using their children as pawns to bring about compliance and to perpetuate the scam of school performance scores. 

This is a letter created by the Calcasieu school district that administration is "requiring" parents to sign if they refuse the test.  It is not only intimidating and confusing to parents, in my estimation it invites a legal challenge if they persist in their demands. 

A well known blogger who calls herself Edushyster, published this satirical yet accurate rendition of similar events in her state of  Massachusetts. (scroll down when you open it) I would like to offer it to our local and state officials as a "teaching moment."

edu.shy·ster ej-oo/ˈshīstər/ n.

From the Urban Dictionary: Someone greedy, of questionable honesty. A crook or con artist. As in: "You're not getting a penny from me, you @#$% shyster."The edushyster seeks to profit off of public schools and their students and is almost always aided by state and local politicians who find the shyster's faddish jargon irresistible.

Parents R Dumb

How not to respond to an opt-out request...
Dear education official: when a parent informs you that their child(s) will not be participating in a standardized-test related activity, is the appropriate response to A: inform the parent that such is his or her right under Massachusetts' ever *evolving* position on said right (or lack thereof); B: treat the opportunity as a *teachable moment* and *drill down* into the amount of testing currently mandated by the district in question; C: mock said parents in assorted correspondence with other education officials; or D: hope that said parents don't file a public records request and pass said mocking correspondence onto a blogger...

Teachable moment
Our story begins last year, when Massachusetts' education officials issued a series of confusingly conflicted directives regarding whether parents here have the right to *opt-out* of the statewide tests, including a fresh new test meant to test college and career readiness. Breaking: they don't. No wait—the official state position is that while no such right 
exists, school leaders may see to it that the *lil refuseniks* are afforded an alternate educational activity as long as they don't distract the other test takers from their test taking. No wait, wait: left unresolved by this un-resolution was the question of whether parents may also refuse the practice tests that students in a growing number of districts take to practice practicing for the real test. 

Malcolm in the Middle
The main characters in today's tale reside in one of the Bay State's most *data-driven* districts. In fact we recently encountered them as they said *thanks, but no thanks* to what they say is an obsessive fixation on assessments in the Salem, MA public schools. The parents, citing the state's *you can't, but then again you can* position on parent opt-out rights, argued that their kids should be able to refuse, not just the main event test, but the practice tests that eat up an increasing amount of time in data-driven districts. In other words, who do they think they are???

Warning: contains FOIA'd documents and a great deal of disdain
Read more.

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