Sunday, April 14, 2013

Choose to Refuse: Rocking the World of Ed Deform as Parents Revolt Against Testing Child Abuse

Parents: CHOOSE TO REFUSE! -- Change the Stakes
I've got to find my button: My child puked on your high stakes test

Let me remind you that at 3PM Sunday, at the Earth School on the Lower East Side, Jesse Hagopian who led the Seattle teacher test boycott, will be
appearing with MORE presidential candidate Julie Cavanagh, who will take time off from collecting for COPE, defending people from grievances, and  preparing a major speech at the upcoming DA. MORE candidate for UFT Secretary Brian Jones will moderate.

I got back from the MORE meeting before 5PM today but find myself a day late and a meeting behind. So I'll report on Friday night's wonderful Change the Stakes meeting that on a rainy Friday afternoon/evening attracted 30 parents (mostly), some teachers and field test maven Fred Smith where the major topic was opting out of the tests, or as some are referring to it as CHOOSE TO REFUSE.

People told awful stories of sickened young children and even one about a child who refused to take the test and wrote he would kill himself on the test booklet.

At a CEC meeting on Staten Island the other day with the increasingly disgusting Shael Polokow-Suransky, over a hundred parents were angry at the DOE -- until slick talking Shael turned them against the school administrators and teachers by claiming Tweed isn't pressuring them and even telling them not to pressure kids -- so blame the school. 160 closed schools and thousands of ATRs over the years and no consequences?

What a snake this guy is. As a matter of fact, he looks like a snake (where's the photoshop team?)

Teachers should wake up and smell the Refusenik roses. The reign of terroor will end when masses of parents choose to refuse and Pearson and other profiteering ed/industrial complex firms stop making money on the backs of the children. No one cares much when teachers are under attack. But the children being abused, that is another story.

Ed deformers say they believe in Choice don't they? Make them live up to their lying words. Do Eva Moskowitz minions believe in choice enough to allow Success parents to choose to refuse?

Below, is parent activist Janine Sopp's email to attendees of the CTS meeting with opt-out sample letters for parents to turn in this week. There are so many mixed messages from different principals about consequences that I can't keep up with them on the CTS listserve.

First some other links of interest.

Evidence That Testing Has Spilled Over Into Child Abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/07/principal-to-parents-dont-buy-the-bunk-about-new-common-core-tests/
Video: Rochester School Board Member opts her kids out of #commoncore exams; doesn't want them to be guinea pigs http://shar.es/JgqTq
This is beautiful.  If I were an administrator sitting at my breakfast table, opposed to the whole opt out movement and trying to quell the movement in my own district, I would have choked on my bagel when I saw this quote this morning:   "That's what I'm really trying to get out to the public.  If you feel your child should not have to take this test, then they can refuse it. There are actions that parents can take, and should take, to make sure there are no consequences or retaliation against them."
Wow.  She also represents Rochester on the State school board association.  Go Willa Powell!
--
Dave
Leonie posted:  Opting out of testing: NO consequences for children, teachers or schools this year

And the principals are in revolt too. Over a thousand people were at Hofstra on Weds for the Carol Burris/Leonie Haimson, etc event: More than a number. Here are some links:




And here is Janine's email to attendees at the Change the Stakes meeting:
Thank you for coming to this city wide meeting of parents and teachers to support families who are refusing to have their children participate in this years state tests.  It was amazing to meet all of you who are new to us and who shared your personal stories about the experiences with your children and schools on the issue of high stakes standardized tests.  Though each of us is having a unique time contemplating and navigating this action in which we may have different outcomes, one thing is for sure, we'd all like to see an end to the over reliance of these tests, that our children stop suffering because of them and that we create a more sound and just education for them.  
I'm attaching two versions of the "refusal" letter * for you to use and share widely over the coming days.  Please email me if you have decided to refuse the test for your children with their school and grade.  If and when you've been able to connect and organize with other parents, please become the point person who collects the same information and share it with us as well.  Since you've been to this meeting, it works best if we have you as the point person for communication purposes, but please include their contact information if you can.  Please also let us know if you or others would be willing to speak to the press. 
The full minutes of the meeting will be forth coming but I wanted to be sure we have your contact information in place.  We encourage you to scroll all the way down and sign our petition and join our CtS open forum to stay connected on these issues.  Below are the links to our Twitter and Facebook pages, which will be used to announce actions and events and to post articles and important information to share about HSST.  Our website is full of information as is TOFT (Time Out From Testing).  Our organizations are collaborating to make this year's Choose to Refuse a strong statement about the rights parents have and the kind of education parents want for their children.  
We encourage you to send our press release/announcement to any contacts you have with the press.  Often times local or community networks are perfect and powerful tools, so no venue is too small.  Consider organizing something with your church, synagogue or mosque, daycare center or other local organizations that care about children.  As Lisa North said tonight, we are building a movement from the ground up to counter act the policies coming from the top down (or something to that effect!) 
We will send you an email announcing the press release as well as upcoming action planning and actions.  There is much to be done and not much time so we welcome and encourage your input and involvement.  Let us know if you have special skills that might be helpful in our organizing efforts (ie:  translation, graphic design, writing, art making, phone calling, other ideas).
We'll be in touch soon,
Janine 
Below are the opt-out letters for parents.



Long version:

-->
Date: ________________ Dear ___________________________
Please accept this letter informing you of our decision to opt my child , ____________________, out of the ELA and Math tests in April. Under our guardianship and advice, my child should be scored as a “refusal”, with a final score of “999” and a standard achieved code of 96, on both the ELA and Math State tests as described in the NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual on page 63. Please note that a “refusal” is not the same as “absent,” as they are defined differently and scored with different standard achievement codes on page 63 of the SIRS Manual. Also note that on page 20 of the 2012 Edition School Administrator’s Manual it states that, “The makeup dates are to be used for administering makeup tests to students who were ‘absent’ during the designated administration dates.”
_____________________will specifically be scored as a “refusal,” not “absent,” and therefore we ask that the school please provide an alternative activity during administrative sessions. However, we understand that an alternative activity is not required on the part of the school. If you are unable to provide an alternative activity for our child, we ask that you please utilize the provision of the NYS Testing Program Educator Guide to the 2013 Common Core which , on page 9, explains, “When Students Have Completed Their Tests...that student may be permitted to read silently.”
These tests do not provide useful information for teachers or parents to support an individual’s learning. These tests erode the quality of education that is available to our city’s public school children. Using the scores from exams to determine student promotion, school report cards, school closings and the effectiveness of principals and teachers, elevates the importance of these exams-- which give only a situated snap shot of a student’s ability to perform, not taking into account the many variables that may impact performance on any given day-- to a level of absurdity. The high stakes now attached to this testing result in far too much time taken away from instruction, time which is instead devoted to testing and preparation for testing.
Over the last few years, there has been a shift in instruction to support test preparation that may not be in the best interest of student learning, even in schools that attempt to address the needs of the whole child, as our school does. In addition, the time students actually spend taking tests has increased, both in terms of the actual high-stakes tests and stand-alone field tests that students now sit for. All of this time lost to testing could instead be spent on instruction that fosters creative thinking, encourages collaboration, as well as independence, and prepares our children for futures as productive adults in a global society.
As parents, we believe that our child has well-trained teachers who should be trusted as professionals to design substantive curriculum and meaningful assessments that measure student learning. We believe that tests may have a place in assessing student knowledge, but they should be low-stakes so as not to corrupt the education system by motivating educators to focus on test preparation at the expense of rich instruction. More important, ongoing formative assessments used by teachers, students and parents to evaluate student learning can be most effective in improving student understanding, as it can inform teachers and parents in making pedagogical decisions and inform students as they adjust learning behaviors accordingly.
We appreciate your understanding of our position regarding our child’s participation in these tests. We hope to work with the school in our decision and would like to maintain open communication on the matter.
Sincerely,
======== Short version: -->
Date: ________________
Dear ___________________________
Please accept this letter informing you of our decision to opt my child , ____________________, out of the ELA and Math tests in April. Under our guardianship and advice, my child should be scored as a “refusal,” with a final score of “999” and a standard achieved code of 96, on both the ELA and Math State tests as described in the NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual on page 63. Please note that a “refusal” is not the same as “absent” as they are defined differently and scored with different standard achievement codes on page 63 of the SIRS Manual. Also note that on page 20 of the 2012 Edition School Administrator’s Manual it states that, “The makeup dates are to be used for administering makeup tests to students who were ‘absent’ during the designated administration dates.”
_____________________will specifically be scored as a “refusal,” not “absent,” and therefore we ask that the school please provide an alternative activity during administrative sessions. However, we understand that an alternative activity is not required on the part of the school. If you are unable to provide an alternative activity for our child, we ask that you please utilize the provision of the NYS Testing Program Educator Guide to the 2013 Common Core which , on page 9, explains “When Students Have Completed Their Tests...that student may be permitted to read silently.”
.
We appreciate your understanding of our position regarding our child’s participation in these tests. We hope to work with the school in our decision and would like to maintain open communication on the matter.
Sincerely,
Parent Name_______________________________________

1 comment:

  1. Shamefully, NYSUT President is playing the collaboration game with dire warnings against teachers that follow their consciences, that perform their civic duty to resist, for the welfare of the children.
    Note this chilling comment in his letter,
    "A teacher who, in conversations with students or parents, takes a position on testing contrary to the school district's educational program may potentially be charged with misconduct or insubordination and could be subject to disciplinary action."
    His full letter is printed at NYSUT's Iannuzzi as Discipliner, Warns Teachers on Opt-Out Advocacy; Ignores Great Anxiety Tests Can Create at nyceye.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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