Daily Archives: February 13, 2016

Reasons to Consider Opting Out of State Tests 2016

Saving your child from the experience of taking harmful high stakes tests, and promoting the importance of classroom instruction by a certified, quality teacher are critical first steps towards ridding our state of this horrible and costly practice.  It will send a clear message to your child’s school, school district, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction(OSPI), and the state legislature that you have had enough with all the mandates being placed on your child, your child’s teacher, and your child’s school.

Refuse.

Opt Out.

It is costing millions and millions of dollars of limited tax payer dollars to continue the use of invalid and unreliable testing instruments.  This money should be going directly to the classrooms and used for instructional purposes and learning experiences.

Consider your child’s test may be scored by someone hired off of Craig’s List at $11.20 an hour.  They are not educators, yet they read your child’s responses, and assign a score.

Consider the problems given in the test itself.  View the kinds of questions your child faces in the report entitled, “The Smarter Balanced Common Core Mathematics Test is Fatally Flawed and Should Not Be Used. From there you can download the full report.  The items are quite confusing and worth exploring.

Consider the latest research :

  1. Critical Questions about Computerized Assessments and Smarter Balanced Test Scores
  2. Scientists Raise Concerns about Health Risks with EdTech. How Will The U.S. Department of Education Respond?

Consider the hours teachers are spending test prepping.  It is not their fault.  They have to.  The platform used on the computer requires your child to deal with confusing interfaces.  Therefore, the teacher, in all fairness, needs to expose your child to the ins and outs of utilizing all the controls and understanding how to interact with all the tabs.

Consider how 8, 9, and 10 year olds are sitting in front of computer screens from 9:00 a.m. until the bell rings at 3:00.

Yes.

Many children take this long to complete one section of the test.  And… there are four total sections to complete.  See: “Description of The SBAC… This Is What Children Face.

The exhaustion experienced by these children is incomprehensible.  College aged student’s finals don’t take this long.  Yet our youngest learners are expected to perform for hours at a time.  Can you say developmentally inappropriate?

D E V E L O P M E N T A L L Y   I N A P P R O P R I A T E.

Consider the size of their hands.  Many tiny hands do not span the keyboard.  Yet they are asked to write full paragraphs into a window with a Microsoft Word Toolbar above. See how “Using Computers Widens The Achievement Gap in Writing“. This means teachers need to devote more instructional hours and their only choice is to instruct them in programs like Microsoft Word and using typing programs.  How long did it take you to learn to type?

Ask yourself… is this the most critical learning necessary for an 8, 9, 10 year old?

  • Can they read?  Do they love to read?
  • Are they curious?  Do they want time to explore their world in the classroom?
  • How are they progressing in math concepts and skills?
  • Is there time for your child to be exploring social studies and science?
  • What do you value most for your child in their classroom with their teacher?
  • Do you desire to see evidence of their classroom work?
  • Do you like to see a story they wrote on their own and made up from their imagination?

Consider the narrow focus of the test.  (Math and Reading)

Consider your child’s teacher is not allowed to look at the test items.  (Either are you).

Consider the test scores don’t come back until August or September of the following school year.  What benefit do they have to the teacher then?  She has a whole new class of children with different needs than the class before.  The new teacher can look at the scores, but she is now expected to teach the new grade level standards.

Consider the exhaustion, stress, and tears teachers see in their student’s eyes.

Consider the morality and ethics of withholding a child’s ability to graduate based on this test.  Thirteen years of their education, passing classes, and solid report cards boil down to this one test.  (The Washington State Senate just passed this requirement with a vote of 27-20, and it is now on to the House. Stay Tuned.)

Consider whose money is backing these policies.

Consider which Legislators are “bought” and voting for these mandates.

O P T  O U T.

R E F U S E.

Send a clear message to Olympia.

Send a clear message to Washington D.C.

This. Is. Not. Okay.

Go To: How to Refuse/Opt Out of State Tests 2016

OPT OUT SPOKANE!

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

 

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How to Refuse/Opt Out of State Tests 2016

How to Opt Out a Kinder – 8th Grader in WA State

State Tests:

  • WaKids (Kindergarten)
  • MSP (Measurement of Student Progress)
  • SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment)

For this span of years it is simple to opt your child out of the tests.  Write a letter to your school’s principal and send a copy to the district office.  You can explain why you are opting your child out if you wish to help educate them in regards to the invalidity of the test.  You can attach articles to help educate them (Like the ones linked in “Reasons To Consider in Opting Out of State Tests 2016“).  Many have not been exposed to these reports.

justiceYou can even mail a copy of your opt out letter to OSPI and your local legislators.  Sending a clear message will help them understand how wrong this is, and the impact it is having upon our children, teachers, and schools.

There are no consequences to your child for not taking the test.  However, principal’s have been trained to meet with you and convince you otherwise.  Hold Firm.  You are fighting for a bigger cause than opting out your own child.  No child should have to face this abuse.  The higher the number of Opt Outs, the louder the message.

If they threaten you with not allowing your child to advance to appropriate courses in the next grade based on this one test simply ask, “Are you going to prevent my child from being placed in the appropriate (math) class next year, despite the fact she has shown mastery of these skills, and her teacher knows she is ready for the next level of (math)?”

Ask them if they are going to place your child in classes they have already mastered, (instilling boredom), and prevent them from advancing to the appropriate instructional level.

Call out the bluff.

Do they not have evidence from your child’s classroom work from the entire year to guide their decisions?  Are they seriously going to consider placing your child in classes based on one test with no research to back up its validity?

Do not back down.  The test scores are invalid.  Filtering children at young ages based on one test is D I S C R I M I N A T O R Y.

Consider test score trends in New York State.  Standards are changed, cut scores are changed, and the test itself changes year to year.  The ole’ Apples and Oranges Comparison.  It is all such a scam.

NY Testing Trends

Advocate for your child.  Make an appointment with the Superintendent if need be.  Attend a School Board Meeting and share your concerns.  Copy the reports.  Hand them out!

How to Opt Out in High School in WA State

This is a tougher one with the current legislation.  Staying on top of current bills and requirements are critical.

For now here is the latest:

You can opt your high school aged child out as long as they meet graduation requirements in other ways. Sadly, this ends up meaning that the SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment) is the easiest way.   However, if your child takes the SAT or ACT, they could use those scores.

An Opt Out Letter to the principal is necessary. Then call or email the high school principal and explain how strongly you feel about your child not taking the state’s high stakes test.  Ask them for clear direction and honesty in regards to the current other available paths for your child to graduate.

The more letters, emails, and phone calls they receive, the more they will hear the message regarding the unethical high stakes testing policies.

Other options could be available too…. Like writing your legislators in opposition of high stakes testing.  Have your child write them too!

Sample Opt Out Letters

The following are the Opt Out Letters I wrote:

1)  My Son is More Than a Score… My Reasons for Opting Out of Testing

2)  Short Form Opt Out Letter to My Son’s Principal

If you are still unsure about why to Opt Out… 

Go to: Reasons to Consider Opting Out of State Tests 2016.

My best to all parents joining this crusade for all children.

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE