Thursday, July 11, 2013

DOE Retaliates Against Children Who Opted-Out

No matter how smart they are, the majority of kids who did not take standardized tests will be forced to attend summer school. ...
The NYCDOE - you know those "Children First" people who are so threatened by the growing parent opt-out of the tests movement-- are forcing kids to go to summer school even it their teachers said that was not necessary. An article in included these quotes by Change the Stakes' Andrea and Diana below:
This spring, public-school students in New York City chose a dicey way to protest standardized tests: refusing to participate. But now some students are paying the price for opting out by having to attend summer school even though their teachers have said they should be promoted to the next grade. Naturally, parents are not happy, and some recently held a press conference at the city’s Department of Education headquarters to protest the promotion procedures. “Children [who opt out of testing] are perceived the same as children who received a low score, even if they are high-performing students,” Andrea Nata, a public school parent, said at the press conference. “This is the second year in a row my child has not been promoted in June.”

“Denying promotion on the basis of parental decision to opt out is a clear retaliation method and scare tactic for future parents to make this an option,” Diana Zavala, the parent of a fourth grader in New York City and a member of Change the Stakes, told TakePart. Zavala’s son opted out of the tests for a second year in a row. He does not have to attend summer school because his portfolio was assessed and he passed.

Many parents, including Zavala, say that at the heart of the controversy is transparency. Parents are routinely denied access to evaluate the tests or see the questions their children got correct or missed. They argue that in many instances a teacher’s recommendation is absent from any decision to promote a student. Summer school, Zavala said, is not the answer for students who opted out or who are in the lower 10 percent. Change the Stakes wants students to have support when they need help during the school year instead of penalizing them with summer school. “For the students who fail the tests to begin with, those students, if really deemed to be behind academically, the answer isn't summer school (for five weeks), but actual support to get the student to grade level,” Zavala said. “And this certainly shouldn't come to a head at the end of the year, but should be something that was ongoing and addressed throughout the school year.”

The article has a misleading headline:

Opting Out of High-Stakes Testing Has Backfired in New York City

In fact the opt out movement and the DOE attempt to suppress it will ultimately backfire on the deformers as parent outrage at the testing mania grows.

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