Category Archives: Opting Out

RALLY for PARENTAL RIGHTS in New Hampshire

PLEASE INVITE and SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!


Let’s meet in the LOBBY of the Legislative Office Building at 9:00 AM on Thursday, March 5th, 2015.

NH Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry is using Technical Advisories to intimidate parents. Barry believes her directives SUPERSEDE a parent’s fundamental RIGHT to direct the education of his child.

House Education Committee votes on House Bill 603, protecting a parent’s right to REFUSE to allow their child take the Smarter Balanced Assessments without penalty, at 9:45 AM March 5, 2015 in the Legislative Office Building, Room 207.

Please email the House Education Committee: HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us
Tell them to PASS HB 603 to respect parents right to REFUSE.

Why should parents be forced to allow their children take an assessment that is SHROUDED in SECRECY? Parents should be able to REVIEW and INSPECT copies of previous assessments from 2013 or 2014. Yet parents are not allowed to do so.

Many are concerned about the dispositional questions, measuring student values, attitudes and beliefs, that are on the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Others have PRIVACY concerns with the U.S. Department of Education receiving “student level” information from these assessments.

Regardless of the reason, parents have the RIGHT to REFUSE!

NH’s Teachers Union Throwing Teachers & Parents Under the BUS

The MEA (Manchester Teacher’s Union) has sent down and edict to all of its members to fight parents on the refusal of the Smarter Balance test. This is not a reflection on ALL teachers. As we know some Manchester teachers have come forward to fight on behalf of our kids. Across the nation several have refused to administer the Smarter Balance test to their students at the risk of their own livelihoods. However, it seems that the MEA only comes out when money is on the line as it pertains to teacher salaries. Education is supposed to be about the children. We have a lot of work to do in order to win this battle and fix this broken system. We begin with sending a loud message regarding the Smarter Balance test on February 9th at City Hall at 7:00pm. Please join us.

“Parent Refusal” Policy for the STATEWIDE Smarter Balanced Assessment

The NH DOE has the “Parent Refusal” Policy for the STATEWIDE Smarter Balanced Assessment located on their website under Accountability/Assessment:

NH Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Achievement Standards: Participation Criteria, Guidance & Forms

http://www.education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment/alt_assess/part.htm

It’s true, that “Parent REFUSALS” are NOT approved by the State, nor do they have to be.

But, PARENT REFUSALS of the Statewide Smarter Balanced Assessment will be listed as “did not participate for OTHER reasons”, which is a reason not included as 1 of the 5 approved special considerations – on the Statewide Assessment Results.

Interesting that the NH DOE only included the parent refusal participation criteria policy on the same page as the NH Alternate Assessments Special Considerations page, which at first glance, makes it look like the Parental REFUSAL policy for the Statewide Assessment is somehow only for students with Special Considerations – “needs” in Items 1 though 5.

But, the Parent Refusal policy is actually found in the title as Participation Criteria on this page that I have provided for you and where the actual link is located to get you to the second page where you will find the paragraph about PARENT REFUSALS, etc.

http://www.education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment/alt_assess/part.htm

Request for State Approved Special Considerations (SASC, 2014-15)

If parent refusals were only for disabled or qualifying Special Consideration students, it would be discriminatory to totally exclude students who don’t have special needs and to not be included in the “Parent Refusals” participation criteria. MAKES NO SENSE! How silly would that be.

Please know, that a parents’ fundamental right to REFUSE the Statewide Assessment can be exercised in NH whether the student has special needs to be considered or not.

The NH DOE just doesn’t want all of the parents of NH to know that. Just another reason to REFUSE. Why is the NH Department Of Education and District School Superintendents trying to deceive the parents into believing that it’s against the law to refuse the Government Assessment? NO State Statute (RSA) can supersede a parents Fundamental Right to direct the education of their child.

BOTTOM LINE:
If a parent wants to REFUSE the STATEWIDE Government Assessment (SMARTER BALANCE) of their child, they should just choose any Smarter Balanced Assessment REFUSAL Notification Form, SIGN IT, and SUBMIT it to the child’s school principal.

Easy as pie : )

Just in case:
Parents (you) should also make a point to go back after submitting the form to the school principal and check with the child’s teacher and the principal before testing begins in March 2015, if they have any intentions to Assess (test) your child, anyway, after you have submitting the form to them. Maybe they just need to be reminded to pay strict attention to your Legal Statement exercising your right to REFUSE this assessment for your child, and your signature – indicating the “REFUSAL”.

To avoid any mistakes from happening by teachers perhaps assessing anyway, the child should be taken to the library or another room to read a book, write, or do homework, with proper supervision while testing is going on in the classroom.

Please NOTE:
NH is a COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE State and it is illegal for any teacher or School Administrator to advise or force a parent to keep your child home anytime during the several weeks of the Assessment period because of your “REFUSAL” to have your child assessed – whether they be half or whole days doesn’t matter. Parents should not be inconvenienced with time-off from work.

ED. Comm. Virginia Barry should not have promised the Federal Government 95% participation rate for the people of NH.

Saw-rryy Virginia : ) I hope you won’t meet your quota for the Feds.

And, “We The People” of NH won’t put up with NH School Superintendents and Assistants (cronies) who intimidate and bully parents and our elected School Board members either.

Also, Virginia, please find another job. Your rudeness to the people of NH and deceptive practices are not appreciated.

NH Citizens, please forward this email to folks in your email address book who you know would appreciate receiving this important email news.

REFUSE the COMMON CORE TESTS

We posted a form you could download to use when informing the school you are REFUSING the Common Core Standardized tests.

We liked this one from a parent so much, we decided to POST it incase you’d like to use it too.
Teacher and Principal,

Please accept this letter as notice that we are refusing to have our CHILD, participate in any standardized testing that has been designed and constructed by anyone outside of the SCHOOL District, including the MAP tests, NAEP, NWEA, STAR and any additional similar or replacement tests such as SMARTER BALANCED. We are asking that you provide STUDENT with alternative, useful, and meaningful learning experiences during testing periods so that she may continue to learn and grow while other students are engaged in taking these exams. If you are unable to provide an alternate activity, we request that STUDENT be allowed to read silently during testing time or use the time to do schoolwork. We can also keep STUDENT home as an excused absence during testing that will take longer periods of time.

Our primary objection to these tests is their negative impact on children. Students are being used as fodder in a system that takes their time and talents, and risks their self-esteem in a misguided and inappropriate effort to evaluate teachers. It is our belief that these tests can provide no more accurate and meaningful data on teacher effectiveness than that which you, as their supervisor, could and should provide.

Also, we question the construction and usefulness of these tests. We are of the opinion that a good teacher can evaluate a child better and more accurately than a standardized test. We believe that it is unethical for both teachers and students that the tests are correlated to teacher evaluations.

Finally, but no less significant, we want to make clear that our decision to refuse testing for STUDENT is not a condemnation of teachers or an act of aggression against SCHOOL. We hope our efforts will be understood in the context in which they are intended: to support the quality of instruction promoted by the school, and to advocate for what is best for all children. We believe that you can provide students with an excellent education without the “help” of corporations that are more interested in money than in the well-being of our children. It is our belief that those corporations will only go away if they are starved of resources in the form of student data. Our hope is that our refusal to have STUDENT participate in the use of their products will help return public education to the trust of valued professionals. As we said to you on the phone and by email, we miss the days when teachers had more time for instruction instead of being forced to spend so much time administering and preparing for tests.
We appreciate your understanding of our position regarding STUDENT’s participation in these tests.
Sincerely,
PARENTS/Guardians

The NH DoE Acknowledges the RIGHT of Parents to Opt Out Their Child

Hopefully the following information will help parents put to rest their fundamental rights to guide and direct the education of their children.  We know parents have been receiving conflicting information from their school administrators on whether or not they have the right to REFUSE the Common Core Assessments for their children.  

WE CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE PARENTS TO REFUSE THE STANDARDIZED ASSESSMENTS and hope this information will help you in that decision.

The NH DoE acknowledges the RIGHT of parents to Opt Out their child:

“Although RSA 193-C-6 requires all public school students to participate in the statewide assessment (one assessment in English language arts, mathematics and science), there are no laws … or rules …that would penalize a student for not participating in the statewide assessment. Additionally, the same is true if a parent determined that they would not allow their child to participate.”

TA Advisory – Assessment Participation (addendum)-2

We continue to encourage you to check your LOCAL policies to see if:
1) Will your child’s grade be impacted if they do NOT take the Standardized Assessments (Smarter Balanced, STARR, NWEA, etc.)
2) Will your child’s “placement” in a class be impacted?
3) Will your child be held back from advancing to the next grade?
In other words will your school district TRY to PUNISH you and your child? IF so, please let us know immediately.

 

WARNING NEW HAMPSHIRE on Standardized Assessments

Parents, teachers, and activists around New Hampshire have been warning about the new computer adaptive Common Core standardized assessments. The NH DOE signed on to Smarter Balanced before it was ever validated.  (It still has NOT been validated as required by law)

The NH DOE and BOE have turned a deaf ear to concerns that have been raised by many people.  Only now has Commissioner Barry “offered” schools the option of using the SAT (which will also be a Common Core assessment) as a replacement IF all schools AGREE to use it.

Where is the local control?  What about Wakefield whose School Board was wise enough to reject the Common Core Standards and instead, use the better quality (OLD) Mass. Standards?  Why should they subject their students to ridiculous and confusing math questions that do nothing to show a child’s true math proficiency?

The NH Dept. of Ed and Board of Ed. simply follow the Federal Department of Education that continues to use our kids like guinea pigs in this continued failed experiment.

WE URGE PARENTS TO REFUSE THE STANDARDIZED TESTS.  At the MINIMUM all parents should observe the classroom when these tests are given to their children.  Make notes and send us an update.

Thanks to the Union Leader for their coverage and more importantly, to teachers like Oden who are courageous enough to speak out.

December 17. 2014 10:35PM

Nashua assessment tests miss the mark

      ShareThis

By BARBARA TAORMINA
Union Leader Correspondent

NASHUA — Some results from the latest round of i-Ready assessment tests may have been flawed because the test company, Massachusetts-based Curriculum Associates, failed to tell the school district that tables used to interpret scores had been changed.

Students in first through ninth-grades take i-Ready math and reading assessment tests three times each year. Teachers use the results of the 45-minute tests to understand each child’s academic strengths and needs, and to tailor instruction to each individual child. “We were not updated on one of the test tools, the placement tables,” said Superintendent Mark Conrad, who added that Curriculum Associates recalibrated those tables without telling the school district.

Conrad said the result was that children from two or three elementary schools were placed in the wrong “skills groups.” The error has since been corrected, and Conrad said the district may receive a financial credit from the company.

Although Conrad said the school district has been working with Curriculum Associates for about three years, and the experience has been “exceptional,” the glitch put assessment tests back in the spotlight at the Board of Education meeting this week. BOE member Dotty Oden, a former first-grade teacher at Amherst Elementary School, said she has had ongoing concerns about i-Ready tests and the upcoming Smarter Balanced tests that begin this spring.

Like Smarter Balanced, i-Ready is an online, adaptive test program based on the Common Core standards.

“I have been hearing from teachers that the data from the tests is not indicative of the children they are seeing in the classroom,” said Oden who added that some teachers saw their entire class score below grade level on i-Ready tests.

While Common Core advocates say the new standards and tests are more rigorous and better prepare students for college and careers, Oden and others worry that the tests are developmentally inappropriate, particularly for math.

“Kids at early stages of development are more concrete thinkers,” she said.

The new standards and tests require critical and abstract thinking which Oden and others say is out of sync with how children naturally develop.

And because i-Ready tests are used to inform teachers on how to teach, and are not part of grades, Oden worries that students in higher grades don’t take them seriously.

Still, Conrad said i-Ready gives teachers information they can use to decide the next best instructional step for students.

“In many cases, teachers say they do get valuable information from i-Ready,” he said adding that the test results are part of a mix of other measures such as classroom work and regular test scores.

But for Oden, those more traditional measures and a teacher’s observations and experience offer a broader and more reliable assessment of students.

btaormina@newstote.com

 

 

REFUSE the Smarter Balanced (Common Core) Standardized Assessment

Here is an article about the PARCC in NJ and how parents are just starting to wake up about the nightmare that is Common Core aligned standardized testing. The last paragraph states that the districts are required to have 95% of the student population take the test and the uncertainty of what the ramifications are if they do not meet that number.

We know that here in NH Commissioner Barry is trying to strong arm parents via the district administrations into thinking that refusing the test is not an option. We suggest sending a REFUSAL letter to your child’s school principal this week refusing the SBAT.

If you choose to NOT opt out, we HIGHLY encourage you to sit in on the classes as your children go through the testing.
We are hearing from teachers that the process is taking a real toll on SOME of the children and if your child happens to be one of those kids, you will at least have an option to step in at that point.

http://www.njherald.com/story/27570405/2014/12/07/new-parcc-tests-no-walk-in-the-park

Smarter Balanced Testing Schedule

PARENTS ARE ENCOURAGE TO “REFUSE” THE SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT!!
See: http://nhfamiliesforeducation.org/content/parents-have-right-opt-out-or-refuse-allow-their-child-take-statewide-assessments-such

Testing Window for Spring 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment Administration
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Testing Window will open statewide on Monday, 
March 16, 2015. The window is 12 calendar weeks and will end on Friday, June 5, 2015. 
All assessments must be completed by grade spans within the 12 week window; however 
you do not need to take the whole 12 weeks if you are able to test in a shorter span 
using the overlapping week schedule described below. The grade spans within the window 
are:

Grades 3 & 4 during weeks 1-6
Grades 5 & 6 during weeks 3-8
Grades 7, 8, & 11 during weeks 5-12

Makeup assessments will occur during the appropriate window. Each school
district will determine, based on their own calendar, when they can begin 
testing and their testing schedule. It is important, however, that grades 3-8 have completed at least 66% of instructional days prior to beginning testing and Grade 11 must have completed 
80%.

Is your Superintendent denying YOU your parental rights on opting out of the Common Core tests?

Some parents are contacting us with stories of Administrators pushing back against them as they seek to remove their children from the harmful impact of over-testing.
We’d like to post some resources for parents to look at and use if they are put in this position.
We have TEACHERS and CHILD PSYCHOLOGISTS telling us that these standards and over-testing are CHILD ABUSE.
FIRST GO to your School Board and ask them if they will PAY for your child’s psychological needs if the school inflicts harmful practices on your children.
SECOND let your School Board know that the Superintendent is bullying you into what you see as abusive practices on your children.
THIRD engage the media and let them know that they are trying to deny you YOUR parental RIGHTS.

Here are some good resources to check out:

NH Families for Education (info on Opting out or REFUSING the Common Core tests)

National Opt Out 

Common Core LEGAL Advisory from Thomas More Center

Opt out denial