Childhood Is Temporary: Defend your child from threatening high stakes testing

Originally posted on Reclaim Reform:

You are not alone. Parents across America are refusing the unfair and harsh high stakes, state mandated tests. Defend your child, and file complaints against those who threaten or intimidate your child.

childhood opt out now

Your child, at any age, is your child. Call the police on any school official who won’t immediately release your child to you for any reason that you as a parent give.

Don’t allow your child to be threatened or intimidated with promises of reprisal for what you as a parent have done.

Punishing a child for a parent’s valid decision is a violation of your civil rights and your child’s civil rights.

File a Civil Rights Complaint against any school board or school official who threatens or punishes a child for your actions. Here are the directions on how to file a valid Civil Rights Complaint. (One valid complaint is an aggravation to that school official…

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12 Civil Rights Groups Oppose Opting Out. It Could Have Been 28.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

On May 5, 2015, twelve civil rights groups led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued a statement “opposing anti-testing efforts.” In short, these groups are confronting the growing strength of the Opt Out/Resist the Test movement.

These groups are the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA), Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), NAACP, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Urban League (NUL), Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), and TASH.

I wrote about their statement in this May 5, 2015, post, entitled, Opting Out Interfering with the “Civil Right” of Testing?

When I first read the May 5, 2015, statement by these 12 civil rights organizations that are defending annual testing even in the face of nationwide standardized-testing overuse…

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My letter in Support of HB 50. #supportHB50

Featured image

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: John Young <>
Date: Wed, May 6, 2015 at 11:03 PM
Subject: Don’t get distracted: Parents are our student’s first teachers, and your constituents. Not to mention, they fund our schools.
To: “Potter, Jr Charles” <>, Bolden StephanieT <>, Keeley Helene <>, Brady Gerald <>, Smith Melanie G <>, Heffernan Debra <>, Short Bryon <>, Johnson Quinton <>, Hensley Kevin S <>,, Matthews Sean <>, Spiegelman Jeff <>, Hudson Deborah <>, Mitchell John L <>, Schwartzkopf Peter <>, valerie longhurst <>, Johnson JJ <>, Mulrooney Michael <>, Barbieri Michael <>, “Williams, Kimberly (LegHall)” <>, Smyk Steve <>, Ramone Michael <>, Miro Joseph <>, “Baumbach, Paul (LegHall)” <>, “Osienski Edward (LegHall)” <>, “Kowalko John (LegHall)” <>, Viola John <>, “Jaques, Jr Earl” <>, Carson William <>, Paradee Trey <>, Outten Bobby <>, Lynn Sean M <>, Bennett Andria <>,, Yearick Lyndon D <>, Wilson David L <>, Kenton Harvey <>, BriggsKing Ruth <>, Gray Ronald <>, Short Daniel <>, Dukes Timothy <>, Collins Richard G <>

Dear Delaware Legislators,

Please consider full support of HB 50, an act to affirm a right that already exists.

  • Passing HB 50 will not cost Delaware funding:
  • Passing HB 50 does not Opt Delaware out of federally mandated standardized testing
  • Passing HB 50 does not violate a “made up” civil right​
  • Passing HB 50 does not stop the measuring of schools based on tests that has no basis in peer reviewed research while the framework that mandates said measurement, NCLB, has been virtually universally ​​panned as bad policy in a very bipartisan manner
  • Passing HB 50 does not threaten the reform movement or agenda and therefore is no threat in reality to our Governor(therefore demanding an answer to the question: why is he against HB 50 or so concerned by this bill?​
  • Passing HB 50​​ does not permit schools to not administer tests or to opt out ANY children. Only parents have this right, and DE code already compels schools to administer the test. Therefore, concerns over “mischief” by school districts is blatant fear mongering​​, particularly when married to the convenient lie that somehow testing is a necessary component of identifying needs. TEACHERS identify needs, Administrators fight to allocate resources to ​​meet these needs. Let’s put our effort in supporting our professional educators and administrators. ​
    ​Proper funding is a great place to start.
  • Passing HB 50 will give parents and students protections.Protection from schools and districts who will coerce them into taking tests to satisfy mandates that they, the parents and students, were full disenfranchised from the process of determining.​​ (I think we fought a couple of wars over that concept in the past)​
  • ​. Also, its the law that they should have been included:  Title 1 funding, Section 1118…Did You Know…(FROM U.S. Department of Education:
  • (c) POLICY INVOLVEMENT- Each school served under this part shall —(1) convene an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to which all parents of participating children shall be invited and encouraged to attend, to inform parents of their school’s participation under this part and to explain the requirements of this part, and the right of the parents to be involved;(2) offer a flexible number of meetings, such as meetings in the morning or evening, and may provide, with funds provided under this part, transportation, child care, or home visits, as such services relate to parental involvement;(3) involve parents, in an organized, ongoing, and timely way, in the planning, review, and improvement of programs under this part, including the planning, review, and improvement of the school parental involvement policy and the joint development of the schoolwideprogram plan under section 1114(b)(2), except that if a school has in place a process for involving parents in the joint planning and design of the school’s programs, the school may use that process, if such process includes an adequate representation of parents of participating children;(4) provide parents of participating children —(A) timely information about programs under this part;(B) a description and explanation of the curriculum in use at the school, the forms of academic assessment used to measure student progress, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet; and(C) if requested by parents, opportunities for regular meetings to formulate suggestions and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions relating to the education of their children, and respond to any such suggestions as soon as practicably possible; and(5) if the schoolwide program plan under section 1114(b)(2) is not satisfactory to the parents of participating children, submit any parent comments on the plan when the school makes the plan available to the local educational agency.
    It’s a about a parent, a child, and a choice.​

Do not get distracted by Common Core​ discussion​s
, or threats of sanctions, or the false notion that relentless measurement via testing is required to allocate resources…we’re all smarter than that I believe.

Lastly, I respect our Governor’s passion on the issue. I often meet that passion head on to disagree with Mr. Markell on education policy, but it’s not because I think he does not care. He does care, but his policies are often reflective of poor use of evidence to support the efficacy of his policies. This is why our teachers have 1) voted no confidence in Common Core implementation,2)  no confidence in his education Secretary, and 3) to support a resolution for affirming a parent’s right to opt their child out of testing. Agree or disagree with DSEA on those three things…it’s notable that they even occurred at all. Teachers loathe politics generally, so why did they do these three extraordinary things? That’s why this debate is so pitched. The fervor against HB 50 from our Governor’s office is a red flag. The status quo is to bully parents and schools to take these unproven tests. Let’s affirm their right to not be bullied on the issue. Those that want to test, get to keep testing. HB 50 changes nothing about that!

 Let’s stand up for our children and their parents.


One time.

No Distractions.

As Parents, for Parents.

As Children, for Parents.


Support HB 50.

Thank you for reading this.

#SupportHB50 Send and Email: MASS E-MAIL list here, just copy/paste!;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

“Someday yeah, we’ll put it together and we’ll get it undone, Someday when your head is much lighter, Someday yeah, we’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun, Someday when the world is much brighter,”- The 5 Stairsteps.

Can’t love this song enough. It has it all: shuffle kick line, pimp hats, alien headgear, and some truly amazing lyrics. It makes me think maybe us adults will someday fix the mess we’ve made of our schools…

Oooh child things are gonna get easier,
Oooh child things’ll get brighter,
Oooh child things are gonna get easier,
Oooh child things’ll get brighter,

Oooh child things are gonna be easier,
Oooh child things’ll be brighter,
Oooh child things are gonna be easier,
Oooh child things’ll be brighter,

Someday yeah, we’ll put it together and we’ll get it undone,
Someday when your head is much lighter,
Someday yeah, we’ll walk in the raise of a beautiful sun,
Someday when the world is much brighter,

La la la la la la la la la-ah (x4)

Someday (Someday, someday someday) we’ll put it together and we’ll get it undone
Someday when you head is much lighter,
Someday (Someday, someday, someday) we’ll walk in the raise of a beautiful sun,
Someday when the world is much brighter,

Oooh child things are gonna get easier,
Oooh child things’ll get brighter,
Oooh child things are gonna get easier,
Oooh child things’ll get brighter,

Right nowww, (oh yeah),
Right nowww, (oh baby),
Right nowww, (And your just the way I see, that things are gonna be) (x3 fading out)

Delaware PTA’s Yvonne Johnson Will Be On WDEL w/Rick Jensen Tomorrow at 2:30 AND On Delaware Way w/Larry Mendte May 9th on Me-TV

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

The Delaware PTA has been a HUGE advocate for parent opt-out in 2015.  They hosted Parent Opt-Out Town Halls in Newcastle County and Kent County.  They have gone to many meetings at Legislative Hall.  They passed a resolution supporting parent opt-out.  Now Delaware PTA’s own Yvonne Johnson is on the media circuit.

Tomorrow, May 5th, she will be on WDEL with Rick Jensen at 2:30pm.  This should be a very interesting interview based on Governor Markell’s potential veto of House Bill 50.  When I say potential, that’s if it passes the Delaware House and Senate.

Then, in a pre-recorded segment, she will appear on Larry Mendte’s Delaware Way on Me-TV on Saturday May 9th (time to be announced).  If you don’t live in Wilmington, Mendte puts all his Delaware Way videos up on Youtube a few days later.

Is Yvonne running for Governor?  Just kidding on that one.  I’m glad to…

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The Delaware DOE is about to run Tell Delaware survey part two. Here’s what they think of teachers and their union…#SMOKINGGUN

A few RED PENS INSIDE THIS FOIA E-MAIL CHAIN TO ID players and antecedents and strategies.

To: “Alleyne Atnre” <atnre.alleyne@DOE.K12.DE.US>
From: “Ruszkowski Christopher” <>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:07:17 -0400
How’s March 1-31??
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

Alleyne Atnre <atnre.alleyne@DOE.K12.DE.US> wrote:

I’ll keep them engaged. I designed a survey for them to collect feedback in Feb that they never sent to their members ( this is the doe saying the dsea is a poor partner and does not work with their members
The next TELL DE administration is scheduled for Feb 15th-Mar 15th. I think if he announces this survey now DSEA will get slaughtered by the vocal members. So we’ll need to see how to deal with this. Apparently, vocal members are something to be “dealt with”…amazing candor here.
From: Ruszkowski Christopher
Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 9:48 AM
To: Alleyne Atnre
Subject: Re: Spoke to Jeff
Keep the dialogue open…this is good…
By the time we do the survey (proposed dates??), Priority will be less hot (& only in 6 schools) and comp reform is barely on the survey.  They are actively seeking to time the survey to skew the results!!!
Let’s discuss this…there’s a way for you to respond w/ data to keep him on-board, assuming that his argument is 100% genuine.  here, christopher ruszkowski is speaking ill of dsea and it’s executive jeff taschner, essentially calling him a liar.
If they want high participation, they’ll get it…  this appears to be Christopher ruszkowski suggesting the doe will willfully manipulate the survey, i.e. cheat.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

Alleyne Atnre <atnre.alleyne@DOE.K12.DE.US> wrote:

Hi CR,
I spoke to Jeff and he said he’ll have his secretary find a few dates that work for the DSEA team for a TELL Delaware Advisory Committee meeting in early December.
However, he let me know that he’s not too sure if it’s a good idea to move forward with the study given his members’ concerns with Priority Schools, Comp Reform, etc right now. He thinks we’ll get low participation given the current climate.  this is the dsea trying to time the survey…why would it need to be timed if it’s a genuinely neutral effort to guage conditions? This shows that the results are sought for political purposes, not their actual content.
I told him that we should get the advisory committee together in December to discuss this as a group.
Atnreakn Alleyne
Director, Talent Management & Educator Effectiveness
Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, DE 19901-3639
302.735.4130 (T)  302.739.5894 (F)
*Join. Teach. Lead.*
This email and any attachments may be confidential or legally privileged.  Any dissemination, copying or use of this communication by or to anyone other than the designated and intended recipient(s) is unauthorized.  If you are not the intended recipient, please delete or destroy this communication immediately.
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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The Parent Opt-Out Blitz Begins Now in Support of House Bill 50 #supportHB50 Share on Facebook, Retweet

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

House Bill 50 is on the agenda for Thursday, May 7th as per Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko.  The House of Representatives will basically determine if they listen to the will of their constituents and parents or if they ignore them and bow to Governor Markell and the DOE by casting a yes or no vote.

I am calling for a Parent Opt-Out Blitz, effective immediately.  If you haven’t signed the petition please do so now.  Listed below is every single Delaware State Representative and Senator’s name, email address, phone numbers listed on the General Assembly website, their public facebook accounts where applicable, their public Twitter accounts where applicable, and even some of their own websites.  I was unable to get the Senate phone numbers up, but I will later tonight.  I wanted to get this out there as soon as possible.  Please share this link on your facebook.  Tweet…

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Why Are Red Clay & Capital School Districts Ignoring Board Approved Resolutions Supporting Opt-Out?

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

Dr. Mervin Daugherty was present at the Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education meeting just two weeks ago when their board unanimously approved a resolution supporting parent opt-out without penalty to students.  Dr. Michael Thomas was present at the Capital Board of Education meeting last October when their board passed the same resolution.

So can someone tell me why Red Clay teachers are telling their students not to opt out or they will get a zero on the Smarter Balanced Assessment and their school’s scores will go down?  And why this is coming to them in orders from a district levels to let students know?  And why did Capital School District tell WHYY/Newsworks education reporter Avi Wolfman-Arent they were able to talk 1/3rd of the opt out requests they received from parents into taking the test?

“Burgoyne says the district has convinced about a third of the parents who considered opting out to…

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Delaware parental enemies 1 & 2: GACEC and SCPD. HB 50 opposition wields a misinformed sword!

The two organizations referenced in post title are here:

Ms. Daniese McMullin-Powell of SCPD and Robert D. Overmiller of GACEC, chairpersons of these two organizations ostensibly dedicated to Delawareans with special needs both issued letters with their signatures that offer opposition to HB 50, a bill to grant parents the clarification  of their right to opt their own child out of standardized tests. Please read the bill here:$file/legis.html?open) As you can plainly see, the bill does not opt Delaware out of tests, the bill does not permit schools to opt children out, the bill does not remove common core, and the bill does not prevent the DOE from measuring schools. It simply confirms that when a parent feels it necessary, they have the right to tell their child’s school: my child will not be taking the assessment…and that schools and districts may not coerce and/or punish their child for doing so.

It’s that simple. How these two organizations, allegedly pro parent, allegedly intelligent and sentient, can possibly fall prey to the baseless, and meritless fear based campaign being run by the governor and his selected legislative friends, like Rep. Earl Jaques, is beyond comprehension.

But here we are, two major state agencies claiming to represent students with disabilities, in 2015 no less, just told ALL Delaware legislators to vote against a bill that respects and affirms a basic parental right. How dare they? How can they take their argument that the tests are good, or valid, or work despite volumes of evidence over 20 years to the contrary (that they are tacitly acknowledging in their emails when they describe our schools) and deliberately conflate that concern into a right to suppress a parent’s expression and execution of their rights is embarrassing.

Both of these leaders should step down. Right after they apologize for deigning to suggest they represent me as a parent of a child with Autism by leveraging their ideology to deny me my rights.

These two letters are a genuine nadir for advocacy in Delaware.

GACEC and SCPD, for shame! 

Here’s the letters:


Being a Teacher of Color and Teaching for Social Justice

Originally posted on Young Teachers Collective:

By: Gaby Guzman

For those of us who received an education, by whatever means, on the systems of oppression that exist in our world, once the veil dropped from our eyes, we could no longer live in neutrality and blissful ignorance. We are moved to act, to influence change…no matter how lofty our goals may seem. It is for this reason many of us decided to become teachers.

Education can be a powerful agent of change, not an equalizer of opportunity, but a tool for liberation. We all had our moment, or series of moments, where we experienced just how liberating an education can be. For me it began in a course called Knowledge and Power: Issues in Women’s Leadership. I took this course as a sophomore in college. The process of liberation did not occur instantly, but was rather a process, a journey, of unlearning all the “lies…

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The Moral Currency of the Opt out Movement

Originally posted on fixdeldoe:

The Moral Currency of the Opt Out Movement


Decades ago, whites and blacks were forced to live separate and unequal lives of opportunity, and a few brave civil rights activists took the first steps toward equality.  America made progress and though not at all perfect, our public schools reflected America’s commitment to equality of opportunity, and through the ensuing years, most people in America, teachers, parents businessmen and politicians all contributed to the collective success of our young people.

Somewhere along the way, America lost its educational commitment and edge in the international community, and suddenly tumbled to mediocrity, as measured by an internationally accepted measuring stick.  There are many reasons for this decline, most of which have their origins in how we, as Americans live our lives.  Because in homes where educational and behavioral goals are mutually shared between home and school, children progress through school and, for…

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DOE – Do Your Job – Take the Politics out, take the money from RTTT positions and give it the schools

Originally posted on fixdeldoe:

Why Public Education is on life support

Public Education in Delaware as well as across the nation is at a crossroads in both its mission and in its path forward.  Public education has been and continues to be desecrated by a series of political maneuvers and increasing societal pressures.  In reality, a school system created to service the needs of all children can only be as effective as the school readiness of the young people it tries to prepare for success.   Adults are abandoning their traditional roles as involved school parents and have and are increasingly asking, no – demanding, that the public school system compensate for everything that they will not or cannot do.  And school bureaucracies, eager to make parents happy, transfer those demands to school based personnel, and the politicians, eager to win votes, blame the school based educators for not “closing the gap” that was created…

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My HB 50 Letter

Originally posted on Minding My Matters:

I sent this late last night to all members of the House Education Committee as well as all sponsors and co-sponsors of this important legislation.

“April 25, 2015

Dear House Education Committee Members;

It was my pleasure to be in attendance at the April 22 House Education Committee meeting and to hear the discussion and debate around HB 50. I was concerned about what I felt were a few areas of inconsistent messaging and inaccurate information, and I wanted to share my thoughts further.

During my public comment, I pointed out that many members of the committee demonstrated the basic issues with the standardized testing system. It is not lost on me as a parent and an educator that there needs to be both accountability and demonstration of student achievement. However, when the major concerns raised by many of the legislators present revolved around the “uneducated inner city parents” being…

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From Inclusion to Opting Out: Parents Getting Their Way

Originally posted on jeffrey m hartman:

The current standardized testing opt-out movement is a departure from what some parents of special needs students have lobbied for in the past. Examining case law in special education reveals a trend towards increasing inclusion in every area of student life. The opt-out movement follows the opposite trajectory, but it remains part of a larger trend that includes general education. Parents want control over their children’s education to an unprecedented degree.

Recently, parents of students with and without IEPs have been petitioning for their children to be exempted from taking tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The tests of concern are the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Despite differing origins, each test is part of an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education to gauge student preparedness according to the Common Core. States have their own agendas…

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HB 50 Point of Clarification: HB 50 does not opt the state of Delaware out of testing. (click to read)

After watching the despicable behavior of Chairman Jaques and the questions that followed from some republicans, I have to beleive there is a key point not being made well enough:

HB 50 does not, nor does it seek to, opt the state of Delaware out of the SBAC test for statewide accountability. It merely confers upon parents a degree of protection against threats, bullying and intimidation that they may, if THEY choose to, opt their own child out of the test. IT DOES NOT SPEAK TO NOR ATTEMPT TO OPT OUR STATE OUT OF ANYTHING. (DISCLAIMER: I WISH IT DID, BUT IT DOESN’T)

Please Sign The Petition In Support of Delaware House Bill 50: Parent Opt Out Legislation #supportHB50

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

Delaware parents, citizens, and educators: Please sign the petition in support of House Bill 50.  This bill will be heard by the House Education Committee on Wednesday, April 22nd, at 3:30 pm, in Legislative Hall, Dover, DE.

I have heard some parents in Delaware want to opt their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment but won’t do so until House Bill 50 passes.  This bill does not have to pass in order for you to opt out.  This would codify the right you already have.  However, this bill would send a crystal clear message to the Delaware Department of Education, Governor Markell, and the entire corporate education reform movement in Delaware.  It would also prevent certain schools and districts from taking part in some of the shenanigans they have pulled the past few months with parents in regards to opt out.

Please sign this petition. This will…

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