Earl Jaques pens an editorial (I think) and I red pen it here. #OPTOUT #SBAC #netDE


Delawareonline.com has Rep. Earl Jaques Opt Out Op-Ed here: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/03/15/opting-viable-option/24807005/

My rejoinders are in RED:

I will come right out and say it: I do not agree with the movement for parents to opt their children out from standardized testing, you must hate parents and feel they have no right to control the education of their own child then. I have several reasons for that that I won’t bother to share because they are terribly inarticulate, but I want to acknowledge that while I don’t agree, I understand why some parents, teachers and advocates are pushing for this no, you don’t as evidenced by you calling them failures!. They are frustrated by a system that does not function as well as it should, with different versions of tests seemingly not seemingly, in actuality being rolled out every couple years and students and schools being labeled as failing when that might not DOES NOT reflect the entire picture.

These are all valid concerns but I will write here why they are not to me, and whether you believe that opt-out is viable or not, we all share the same common goals I bet we don’t…: We want our children to be successful, and for that to happen, we need to ensure that our schools are functioning well and our teachers have the resources they need to educate their students. I believe that standardized testing plays an important role in this because we have allowed our DOE to tie them to funds from the feds.

Is there too much testing? Absolutely. Is the testing itself bad, unproven and wasteful? Absolutely. But while much of the focus on standardized testing is on the federally required tests, a sizable amount is state- or district-administered. Smokescreen alert, bullshit alert, all the eggs are in the federal basket and Rep. Jaques knows it. That is why I joined with Governor Markell Thursday calling for a comprehensive review of all state/district testing and assessment look at me do something, anything to divert your attention! I even called you a failure at the press conference if you are of the Opt Out persuasion… I have asked Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, a former teacher, and Rep. Sean Matthews, a current teacher, to be part of that study group. I believe no, you don’t this could result in the biggest change and eliminate much of the pressure our teachers, students and parents are feeling today regarding testing. You will never find out because you will stack the task force.

I recently had the pleasure to attend a forum of the past Teacher of the Year winners a group selected by the DOE…just sayin’ . During that forum, I was able to ask several of them what they thought of the Smarter Balanced test. Each one stated that they like the test and believe we should keep it. I can’t say bullshit because I believe fully that THAT group did say that, but I can say not a monolithic nor majority view with great certainty.That is not to say there aren’t teachers who are frustrated with the assessment good one…this would be you lying, Rep. Jaques, but it is not a universally held opinion…nor is the opposite as you imply with your lame T.O.Y. story.

We must remember that the Smarter Balanced assessment is supposed to be a measuring stick – not a whip to induce pain on our children and teachers yes, YOU must remember that Rep. Jaques, we, know what it is. When I graduated from high school I had to compete with children from within our state. But today, our children compete against children across our nation – and even globally – for jobs and schooling opportunities. This is a garbage line and the one sentence in here that makes me think you did not write this op-ed. It’s based on flawed PISA analysis.

We need a means to see how we compare with others. why? proof?  If we use this measuring stick correctly you seem pre-occupied with measuring things, then we can make the necessary changes to our educational system necessary changes? Like the constant, unending change we have shoved down the system’s throat since A Nation at Risk in 1983? Change for change sake? Really?  This is why HB165 and SB51 were TERRIBLE policies and why HB334 got a second specious vote? , ensure that we provide the necessary resources you and your General Assembly and our Governor have been nothing but a non-stop fail factory at this job…and you want me to believe that a test will make the resources appear? or even more so that opting out will make it worse?  Now that’s funny. , and above all provide the best opportunities for each and every child to succeed. One way to improve upon the existing system you haven’t met the burden of proof that it’s failing and neither has your puppet master is to create a method to evaluate these results to make them more informative.

That is how we should be addressing the concerns we are facing with standardized testing – by tackling the problems we perceive head-on. For those that think that SBAC is the problem, Opt Out seems pretty head-on , sir. Again, why are you disparaging and calling parents failures for doing what you say needs to be done: tackling the problem head-on?

The idea of “opting out” sounds appealing to some parents. No, it IS appealing. Removing their child from testing is a form of protest protection, a parental right above all others and a way for them to take ownership control, again a right of the situation. But consider the side effects are you deigning to suggest we haven’t?. Imagine a class of 25 students where five opt out of the tests. What message does that send to the other 20 children who have to take the test? That they have yet to figure out how deleterious the test and the misuse of the results are? But that there is still hope and time, and RIGHTS on their side…

How does that teacher convince students that the tests are important if a segment of the class has said they’re not worth taking? It doesn’t, and shouldn’t. If the tests are so awesome Rep. Jaques shouldn’t they sell themselves…shouldn’t the market forces lead children and parents in droves to take the test? It becomes that much more difficult to keep students focused on taking the assessment and this is bad how?, which also will be part of that teacher’s evaluation process Why???  Because you and your peers have abdicated your responsibility to kids by letting the DOE and their merry band of sycophants shove unproven reforms, notably ARTC that allows teachers to come into classrooms with 5 WEEKS training (TFA) and have permitted the scores of these tests to control component V of DPAS which controls the overall rating…insane. Fewer children taking the test means other children will need to do better to reflect positively on the teacher What? Why would that be? Oh, yeah, because you don’t care enough about the evaluation process to make it right or fair. Guess parents aren’t the only group you have disdain for these days.. That’s not fair to our hard-working teachers. Nice try, they’re on to you. Bellowing your anti-opt out rhetoric at union halls and all. They know you don’t care.

To be clear, I do not support test scores being part of the teacher evaluation system STOP: then introduce a bill to eliminate it…stop all other rhetoric and do that. To use an internet meme: pics or it didn’t happen. I have joined my colleagues in requesting an additional year be added before we allow test scores to be part of the teacher evaluation system as part of our state’s ESEA waiver process. Yawn, and it erodes your previous statement and exposes it as duplicitous.

Lastly, the consequences of opt-out policies remain largely unknown. Be afraid of the unknown, right?  Don’t dare to be different. Change is bad. In other states where opt-out policies are in place, opt-out rates are far from uniform across demographic groups, which could compromise the data we receive from the tests and jeopardize our federal Title I funding. Now you are parroting a basic, classless scare tactic. Nice.

I sympathize with those parents, teachers and advocates who have grievances with our current standardized testing system, no you don’t and I am committed to working with all stakeholders to tackle this problem to benefit our children and grandchildren. How? When? We disagree on the opt-out method, but we are heading toward the same goal. I’m pretty sure this is another lie.


Will the US Department of Education take your school’s Title 1 funds if you opt your student out of the SBAC? Short answer, no.

Seattle Education


There is no federal or state law that requires financial penalties to schools’ Title I funds if parents refuse to allow their children to take the PARCC tests. The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law did include a mandate that required schools to have a 95 percent participation rate on state tests or face sanctions. The intent of that law was to prevent schools from hiding subgroups of students from the accountability structure and was not aimed at preventing parents from refusing to have their children tested.

The parents in the states of New York and New Jersey have been fighting back against the Common Core Standards for the last year and the corresponding  PARCC battery of tests which is our SBAC set of tests in Washington State.

But let’s start at the beginning.

It is illegal for the Federal Government to specify a national curriculum or national test.

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The Individual versus The Collective

Minding My Matters

On Thursday, March 12, I was part of a panel of educators, parents, and local union leaders who spoke at a press conference announcing the resolution on educational leadership in Delaware that the Christina and Red Clay Education Associations adopted. In subsequent days I have heard a number of comments, but the one most pervasive concern with the resolution that I’d like to address today is that in every organization there are folks who do not deserve the reputation of the collective. (Obviously I’m paraphrasing here.)

Unfortunately, the opportunity to address this concern myself in person has not presented itself. I would like to take a moment of personal privilege to first publish a portion of my speech from Thursday night and then give an analogy that I hope will not only make sense but also help others to understand, if not agree with, my position. Disagreement is completely acceptable…

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