Below is a letter from parent activist Lorna. I taped the town hall last week. Link: https://vimeo.com/90159926
Hello Parents --As you know, the state tests begin next Tuesday.
I have spoken to several of you on separate occasions about my family's decision to opt out. We are not opting out because we oppose testing and assessment of students, we are doing it because:
Please know that these tests are not desired or concocted by our teachers, principal, or any local administration. It's being forced by the State, and since our previous mayor and his staff were in full support of it, teachers and administrators could not speak out...
- What used to be assessment has become corporate-driven, high-stakes tests that are used as an instrument to punish teachers.
- Overemphasis on testing robs our kids of a well rounded education, and robs teachers of their ability to offer individualized instruction.
- Ultimately, Common Core Standards and all the curricula and tests that go along with it serve to enrich corporations instead of our children.
- As part of Race to the Top, New York State sold away our children's personal data to third party vendors like Gates-funded InBloom, without allowing us to opt-out.
...BUT WE CAN!
By agreeing to the Race to the Top initiative, the State has taken away our right to a decent education, the right of teachers being allowed to teach, the right to have well-designed curriculum materials that are designed to educate not confuse and confound, the right to preserve private & sensitive educational data about our kids, and the right to equitable funding.
The only hope we have to put a stop to all of this is to OPT-OUT. You will not just be opting out of the tests they put so much faith in -- you'll be sending a message loud and clear that we are taking back our rights.
This weekend, our local grassroots parents' organization, WAGPOPS, wrote a letter about the recent Town Hall that our Community Education Council hosted. The letter was sent to all the principals and parent coordinators in our district. Diane Ravitch, one of the most respected education experts/advocates in the nation posted it yesterday on her blog, so if you didn't receive it you can read it here:
03/25/our-education-spring- the-parent-led-opt-out- movement-grows-in-new-york- city/
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Read the link above and the attached "Why Opt Out" letter for more info.
- Download the sample "Opt Out Letter" attached, fill it in and send it in to your child's principal and teacher ASAP. I suggest email and print outs in backpacks.
- Talk to your child about it and call the school to make sure they are given an alternate activity to do, so they will not be forced to "sit and stare."
- SHARE THIS INFO WIDELY!
WE ARE LUCKY...
To live in District 14 because the opt out movement has the full support of all of our elected officials, our superintendent (who hosted the opt-out Town Hall last week) and many, many teachers and administrators.
Because of this, you are backed by a team of powerful people who will not let your child be held back or your school lose funding.
Please reach out to me if you have questions. And if you haven't already, please "Like" WAGPOPS on Facebook to get up-to-date news & info about opting out, as well as all the educational issues that affect Williamsburg & Greenpoint parents.
If you're still not sure, I have provided some background reading below. :)
MORE READING ABOUT COMMON CORE, OPTING OUT AND THE "ED REFORM" MOVEMENT:
Lots of resources for info on opting out:
545 NYS Principals and 3,000 parents sign letter to opt out:
wordpress.com/2013/11/ anopenlettertonewyorkparents_ 21nov13.pdf
Carol Burris, NYS Principal and education activist:
blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/03/ 04/principal-i-was-naive- about-common-core/
blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/11/ 18/who-are-the-enemies-of- common-core/
Student data and privacy:
new-york/student-data- compiling-system-outrages- article-1.1287990
2013/10/16/1247790/-What-Bill- Gates-really-thinks-of-Common- Core-State-Standards#
Pearson, and that awful curricula:
blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/ 31/a-ridiculous-common-core- test-for-first-graders/
04/21/nyregion/standardized- testing-is-blamed-for- question-about-a-sleeveless- pineapple.html
online/blogs/comment/2014/01/ the-defiant-parents-testings- discontents.html