Opt-out: My Opinion

594 views
486 views

Published on

Published in: Education
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
594
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
6
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Opt-out: My Opinion

  1. 1. Page 1 of 9 The statements made in my posts don't necessarily reflect the views and/or policies of Denton ISD. In fact, the views and events expressed here are not necessarily the views of anyone. As the STAAR Test date nears, you’ll likely hear more about opting out of testing. With social media, it’s difficult to know truth from fiction; and I’ve been asked repeatedly about my stance. On my professional Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cshadedentonisd), I’ve provided a number of articles and resources. Frequently, I use hashtags. Similar to the Dewey Decimal System in a library, people use hashtags to categorize Tweets. According to Twitter (https://support.twitter.com/articles/49309-using- hashtags-on-twitter), “people use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.”
  2. 2. Page 2 of 9 For example, I recently posted an interview with the hashtag #optout. The #optout movement matters in January 2015, not April 2014. Contact your legislators. Parents' voices matter. http://www.danpink.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/OH_Ravitch.mp3 #reignoferror In this post, I used the hashtags #optout and #reignoferror. If one seeks information via Twitter on the topics of “optout” and/or “reignoferror” using a hashtag (i.e. #optout or #reignoferror), my Tweet would be a part of the “thread,” which is a term used for online discussions in which a series of messages have been posted as replies to each other. By using the hashtag #optout (as in the post above), my commentary is included in the discussion. Using the hashtag #optout does not necessarily indicate I'm siding with anyone's point of view, only that I'm offering mine to be included in the conversation. Most importantly, know I believe one must be informed. Seek facts, opinions, and consider all sides of an issue. Fact (as written by Walsh, Andersson, Gallegos, Green and Trevino, P.C. Attorneys at Law on April 1, 2014): As State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing gets underway this week, news reports have surfaced about a parent movement to opt out. Under Texas law, schools are not authorized to offer an exemption to the state-mandated testing requirements. Texas Education Code § 26.010, provides the following: Sec. 26.010. EXEMPTION FROM INSTRUCTION. (a) A parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or
  3. 3. Page 3 of 9 moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent's child a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or other school activity. A parent is not entitled to remove the parent's child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test or to prevent the child from taking a subject for an entire semester. (b) This section does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency. Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. In response to a parent request to opt out, school districts can cite the portion of this provision that does not authorize a parent to remove the child in order to avoid a test. Districts may also deny requests for exemption of a test that is a grade level or graduation requirement, which would include STAAR testing. Under House Bill 5 (HB 5), passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature, high school students are required to pass five STAAR end-of-course exams to meet graduation requirements. The five assessments under HB 5 include Algebra I, English I (combined reading/writing), English II (combined reading/writing), biology, and U.S. history. The Texas Education Agency has advised school districts and charters that students must pass all five of these end-of-course assessments to be eligible to graduate from a Texas public high school. As a result, under Education Code § 26.010, school districts can deny a request for an exemption from STAAR testing. What if a student refuses to participate in testing or is absent based on a refusal to test? Districts have a number of options. Districts can formally deny a request to opt out in writing, citing Education Code § 26.010. Some parent advocates opposing state-mandated testing have argued that the law does not provide consequences if a student refuses to take the test. Many school districts will promote students to the next grade level despite the student’s refusal to participate in testing. It is the school district’s choice on whether to promote the student, based on all of the district’s grade-level requirements. Districts may also establish a procedure by which the student is issued a test on the day of testing and required to write on the test that they are refusing to take it. The district can then submit the test and the student will receive a score, even though none of the questions were answered. The student may be taken to a different area of the school and provided other schoolwork to do for the remainder of the testing period. For those students who do not attend school on the day of testing, some school districts simply mark them as absent. Ultimately, the Texas Education Agency does not authorize districts to grant requests to opt out of STAAR testing based on Education Code § 26.010. It will be up to school districts to establish policies and procedures for dealing with students who refuse to test. For elementary and middle school students, districts will have to decide whether the student will advance to the next grade level. For high school students, however, state-mandated, end-of-course exams are
  4. 4. Page 4 of 9 required for graduation. As a result, a refusal to test in high school may prohibit a district from awarding the student a high school diploma. In at least one high profile case that has received statewide media attention, the district has been threatened with suit in the event the student is required to take the test. Therefore, we advise that you seek the advice of legal counsel to establish policies and procedures for responding to parent requests to opt out and for handling students who refuse to submit to testing. Fact (as issued in a statement by Denton ISD on March 31, 2014): District required to administer state assessments With students starting state assessments this week, Denton ISD would like to clarify its role in state testing and the constraints that are placed upon school principals and other campus administrators. The Texas Education Code 39.023(a) requires "all students" to be assessed with the appropriate tests - including all STAAR assessments, EOCs in high school, and other tests diagnostically administered. This code also includes alternate tests for some English language learners proficient and special program students. The district does not have a choice as to whether to administer the state tests. Denton ISD campuses must follow Texas Education Code, which clearly states that there is no parental right to remove a student from a test. A few parents may have been misled by mainstream news and social media chose not to quote the entire statute. However the law is clear: TEC Sec. 26.010. EXEMPTION FROM INSTRUCTION: (a) A parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent's child a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or other school activity. A parent is not entitled to remove the parent's child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test or to prevent the child from taking a subject for an entire semester. (b) This section does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency. A district must administer the state test and there is not an “opt-out” from the state assessments. The district continuously supports working with parents and the community to limit the impact of testing. Additionally, the district seeks to utilize the information gathered for improving instruction to better meet the needs of each student.
  5. 5. Page 5 of 9 Denton ISD also looks to employees, parents, and the community to join together and limit distractions for our students. Below is a list of upcoming testing dates. On these dates, we ask that individuals refrain from making requests of Denton ISD campuses and limit visits to the schools. The District does its part each testing season by ceasing any mowing or general construction around the campus, and asking all non-campus employees to refrain from sending emails, calling, or scheduling meetings with staff on those days. It's the goal of Denton ISD to maintain a calm and secure environment so students are in the best possible position to succeed during test days, and the District wants to be responsive to their needs. Upcoming state testing dates and the campuses that are affected include: • Monday, March 31 – All High Schools • Tuesday, April 1 – All Campuses • Wednesday, April 2 – All Campuses • Monday, April 21 – All High Schools • Tuesday, April 22 – All Campuses • Wednesday, April 23 – All Campuses • Thursday, April 24 – All High Schools • Monday, May 5 – All High Schools • Tuesday, May 6 – All High Schools • Wednesday, May 7 – All High Schools Denton ISD thanks all employees, parents, community members, and businesses for their cooperation during testing season FACT (on the Denton ISD website at http://www.dentonisd.org/Page/342):
  6. 6. Page 6 of 9 FACT (as cited in the 2012 Texas Education Agency Adequate Yearly Progress Guide): The participation component of the Reading/ELA and Mathematics indicators is required for all districts and campuses to meet AYP. Participation • Count of students enrolled on the day of testing, or the Participation count of Total Students (participation denominator), • If participant in an assessment, include in Participation calculation of Number Participating (participation numerator). Calculating Participation Measures Districts are required to submit test answer documents for every student enrolled in the grades tested on the test date. Students are counted as participants (numerator of the participation rate) if they were tested on any of the following assessments. Participants also include students who were tested but the test answer document was not scored for other reasons. STAAR and TAKS General Assessments; TAKS (Accommodated) for students in 10th grade only served by special education who meet the eligibility requirements for certain specific accommodations; STAAR Modified or TAKS–M for students served by special education who meet participation requirements for a modified assessment and for whom the general assessment is not
  7. 7. Page 7 of 9 appropriate; STAAR Alternate for students served by special education with significant cognitive disabilities who meet the participation requirements; TELPAS (for Reading only) for recent immigrant LEP students in their first school year of enrollment in U.S. schools; or STAAR L (for Mathematics only) or TAKS LAT for recent immigrant LEP students. The participation measures are calculated as the number of students participating divided by the Participation count of students enrolled at the time of testing. Counts are summed across grades for Grades 3–8 and 10 for each subject (Reading/ELA and Mathematics). Participation measures are calculated for all students and each student group. All calculations are rounded to the nearest whole percent. Participation Target 95% Standard For each district and campus, measures meeting the minimum size requirement for students enrolled on the test date must have 95 percent of students participating for Reading/ELA and Mathematics. Note: Essentially, if the district does not assess 95% of its students, the district is subject to federal sanctions and penalties under the No Child Left Behind Act. FACT: Denton ISD has signed on to be a part of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium as a Consortium Associate.
  8. 8. Page 8 of 9 The mission of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium is to transform (not reform) education. View the visioning highlight video at http://vimeo.com/63767905. The Denton ISD Board of Trustees has signed a board resolution in support of school transformation. (View a sample resolution here.) Read the full Visioning Document at http://www.transformtexas.org/the-visioning-document/ or the white paper, Student Centered Schools Future-Ready Students – The Moral Imperative: From Vision to Action at http://www.tasanet.org/cms/lib07/TX01923126/Centricity/domain/126/2014/frsli_report_full.pdf. More information is to come. FACT/OPINION: The Dallas Morning News wrote a series entitled, How the Testing Bubble Popped. http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/2014_March/standardized_tests/part1/ http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/2014_March/standardized_tests/part2/ http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/2014_March/standardized_tests/part3/ OPINION: Diane Ravitch Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education for the first President George Herbert Walker Bush, is referred to as a “reformed reformer” after “the havoc wreaked by high-stakes testing under George W. Bush’s 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.” As Ravitch said on the Daniel Pink podcast Office Hours, (http://www.danpink.com/wp.../uploads/2013/10/OH_Ravitch.mp3), “ Parents are 'sleeping giants.’” Recently, I posted, “In my opinion, the opt-out movement matters in January 2015, not April 2014. Contact your legislators. Parents' voices matter.” Sir Ken Robinson, author and popular TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talk speaker once said, “Education can be encouraged from the top-down but can only be improved from the ground up.” OPINION: TAMSA: Several grass roots groups are organizing with the most notable being Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA), otherwise known as “Mothers Against Drunk Testing,” at http://www.tamsatx.org/. OPINTION: Kyle Massey Massey,parent/Coordinator of Curriculum for Texas State Technical College Waco/ PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin in the College of Education/blogger (http://kyledmassey.com/), Massey has published a variety of opt-out posts and sample letters on his blog at http://kyledmassey.com/myblog/. OPINION: Chris Shade, husband/father/former teacher/former principal/administrator/Facebook poster/blogger/challenger of the status quo: The statements made in my posts don't necessarily reflect the views and/or policies of Denton ISD. In fact, the views and events expressed here are not necessarily the views of anyone. Thus, I am posting
  9. 9. Page 9 of 9 my personal views to my SlideShare account while making them readily available for consumption to interested parties. I’ve read a number of resources such as http://www.texasobserver.org/diane-ravitch-says-public- school-reformers-have-got-it-wrong-in-reign-of-error/ that quips, “Education reform is the civil rights struggle of our time.” If this is indeed the case, then in my opinion, we should follow the lead of Dr. Martin Luther King (i.e. marching on the capitol) and Rosa Parks (i.e. not refusing to budge (i.e. opting out)). While I cannot legally condone opting out of the STAAR Test (as it could lead to federal sanctions for our district), I [personally] believe people have the freedom to take a stand on matters important to their family’s wellbeing. For the State of Texas to legally deny parental rights (as is evident in the Texas Education Code), I believe parents have the right to say otherwise. My personal position is that the opt-out movement matters in January 2015, not April 2014. Regardless of one's political position, it is essential for people to reach out to their elected officials. When I was principal, I encouraged teachers to do so and not think, "They won't listen to me." One or two letters won't matter, but one or two-HUNDRED THOUSAND will. According to TEA's website, "Texas public schools employ more than 320,000 teachers plus about 70,000 additional professional staff members such as principals, central office administrators and others.” Banded together, district staff is a force in and of itself.” Additionally, I believe we must transform (not reform) education. I am seeing a shift I’ve not seen in my 20 years of education. Parents’ and teachers’ voices matter. Make yours be known. Contact legislators. Take time to understand new curriculum standards and grading policies. They are NOT like they were when you and I were kids. The world has changed, and we must plan ahead for an unfamiliar world as we prepare students for jobs we don’t [currently] know exist. Together, we can transform education.

×