Let us cover this one more time… They would “like” your child to take the test, but they do not have any forceful way to make you comply… Just like a used car salesman would “like” you to buy an underwater car off of him, but has no way to “make” you buy it.   And like that car salesman in a little hut on the side of the road somewhere, the DOE will try to do all it can to convince you that your child must take those horrible tests…..

Let’s look at what they have, shall we? (DOE In red; truth is black)

The Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards 

True That. Question being, do we want those standards?

State Standards prepare all students for success in college and career

Standards are ink on paper. They cannot do action. They prepare nothing. Only teachers can prepare students.  Most experts feel the new standards will be less successful at preparing students for “life” than the old standards…

Delaware’s move to the Smarter Balanced assessment system replaces previous tests, offering significant improvements over assessments of the past.

True again, and although all standard testing is suspect, this test is one of the most ridiculous tests ever offered. It is unquestionably a step backwards.

The Smarter assessments provide an academic checkup by measuring real-world skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.

No one believes this who has taken their child’s test.. If any thinking skills are involved, it is in solving why one should have their child take this test. Have you taken your child’s grade’s test?  Click here and you can do so… Take the actual test and then tell me if YOU think this applies to YOUR job, or the jobs of anyone YOU ever knew?  Go ahead… Take the test….

In addition, through optional formative assessments and a digital resource library and interim item bank, Smarter provides information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are succeeding and where they need help.

The resources are available but with the DOE’s entire attention currently focused on bringing Charter Schools into Wilmington, these tools provided nationally are under-utilized, if ever utilized at all.  Very few children have had class time to check them out.  It’s as if cubicle people in Washington and Dover think kids and teachers sit around for the first hour, and say… “Gee, I wonder what we will do today….”
In Delaware, the purpose of state testing is to ensure students get the help they need to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to make the most of their talents.

This has been completely debunked.  In Delaware the purpose of state testing is to ensure that public schools appear badly enough so that people will flock to the new charter schools.   It begs comparison to a child with one leg who can’t jump over a three foot bar, so you raise the bar to 5 feet and threaten to fire his coach if he doesn’t succeed…. (you are obviously hoping the coach fudges the results of the test and you can say, see, how great I am? I raised scores..

The Delaware Department of Education recognizes state testing as an important part of understanding how schools, districts, and the state are doing in educating and preparing students for college and careers.

Standardized state testing has been repeatedly debunked for showing bad data…  so many studies have proven conclusively that test scores only show income level.  Test scores correlate directly with the rise and fall of the parents income levels. Super great schools embedded in impoverished areas are deemed failing, (they aren’t; they are making fantastic progress when analyzed by professional methods), and poor and mediocre and unchallenging schools are deemed enterprising and successful when only test scores are used to make that determination…

Basically these tests, rooted in the north Mid-west, only measure exactly how closely the tester thinks like the test creator, and unless one was privileged to have grown up in that environment, one really has no idea. Things like that are not taught between ages 1 and 3, that important time-frame when the brain sets up its language framework, and therefore each tester must choose their answer making the most sense to them. It is usually marked wrong. 

This is the primary way we can know if we are making appropriate progress toward educating students on the academic standards.

But it was not always so.  We have other tests. One is called the PSAT. Another called the SAT. Another optional one, called the ACT.  We have the NAEP. And we have the PISA.  If you want to take a good assessment, to compare it to the bad, take the NAEP for your child’s grade...  This very bad Smarter Balanced Assessment was created instead of using all these other internationally accepted good tests, which were already available to compare schools’ progress

Student testing also helps districts and schools identify if there are specific populations within their school that are behind and may need extra assistance.

But why do we have to fail 70% of the students on a new test  to make these comparisons when that data is already available with the DCAS and the DSTP prior to that?

And state testing helps parents understand how their child is doing in comparison to students in other schools.

Which gets to the whole point of pushing charter schools.  Charter schools who can bully and kick out disabled and poor students, “appear” to have higher scores than schools who have to take in those rejects.  No parent is going to pull their child out of a public school which has been given a top grade by their local university, and put them in one which if run by the Delaware Charter Association, has a 35% chance of closing!  But they certainly will consider it if their child comes home crying his eyes out over the Smarter Balance Assessment and they see higher scores in a charter school nearby…  Get it now?

That said, we cannot spend precious student and teacher time on assessments that do not offer this important information.

WHOA!  Extremely false statement.  Again, what the Smarter Balanced Assessment does in plain language, is test your child two grades ahead. If your child is in third, the tests rise to the  5th grade complexity on the old tests (DCAS).  If your child is in 6th grade, his test lies at an 8th grade difficulty.  If your child is in 11th, he is tested to see if he is currently ready for college courses.   This does not offer information any different than the other tests mentioned above.. In fact if offers far less….

For if you have a very hard test in which most children have no idea what it is about, all of the children will fail… Let’s assume 70% of the scores are below 10%…. This is one big lump of students.  How can you differentiate, if all the kids get all the questions wrong because they are too hard?  Statistically, you can’t.   Were the test far easier, then some students would be in the 10’s, some in the 20’s, some in the 30’s, some in the 40’s, some in the 50’s, some in the 60’s, and some who passed.  Once gaining the wider spread, one has better statistics to determine. These tests will limit knowledge, not grow it.

The Delaware Department of Education over the past two years has eliminated some required tests and its switch this year to the Smarter assessments will reduce the number of times students take the state English language arts and mathematics assessments from up to three times a year to only one.

True. The testing is less, but the stakes are higher.  If your child passed last year’s test, he has a 70% chance of failing this year… Got it?  That is because he is getting tested 2 grades above his grade level for which there is no way he can be prepared.  The previous tests were excessive in number but they correctly showed what a child knew at the beginning and learned across the year... Ironically these old tests the Department of Education hereby dismiss, ARE THE VERY ONES BEING USED TO JUSTIFY THE CLOSING OF ALL SCHOOLS IN WILMINGTON, WHETHER THEY BE OLD CHARTER OR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  It seems the Department discounts the tests only when it suits their purpose, and holds them in high regards… also when it suits their purpose.

The reason for opting out of the test is to protect your child and to stop this entire process from grinding children up further; these tests have only one reason: to further discredit public schools in hopes it opens the market for more charters to enter.  (Charter Schools except for the most exceptional, all tend to do worse than schools of public education.)

There are no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow Delaware to have a system for parents to refuse student assessment.

There are also no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow you to eat Peanut-Butter sandwiches.  Nor is there any provision in state or federal regulation that allow you to wear stiletto heels.  It is exactly like there are no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow you to lie in your backyard and look up at cloud formations…

Which means you can do it.  Right here the Delaware Department of Education acknowledges that they have no power to make you stop your child from taking “their” test….   New Jersey admitted it two weeks ago.. Delaware expressly admits it here… 

There is no way to enforce you as a parent force your child to take the test… They can’t force their hands to move on the keyboard….

But of course… they would “like” your child to take the test they wasted $119 million dollars creating…  So they will try to bluff, plead, beg, and do all those things used car salesmen do when you tell them no.. You aren’t interested. They can’t make you buy it…

In addition, state and federal laws are clear that there is an expectation that all students will participate in the state assessment system.

These laws were made without teacher, student, or parent input.  They were never debated in public. They were signed, sealed, and became official policy before anyone knew what they would bring.  We now know what they will bring… 70% failure rate over a test that exists only to fail students by rates as high as 70%… It is not college or career ready, yet the old tests were. And you only have to take it yourself as an adult, to understand why all parents so far who have taken it are 100% determined their child WILL NOT TAKE THIS TEST.    (Seriously, did you take the test yet?)

The only instances in which students can be excluded relate to exemption requests. Only two reasons are allowable for requests for exemptions: extreme medical incidents or for reasons of mental health of the child (each requires documentation from a physician).

If you have a child in either of those categories, go ahead and make the case and opt out… The reason they insist on full participation, is that when these laws were put in, to ensure that the firings that came afterward would be fair, as well as the school closures, it was insisted that 95% of students had to take the test for results to be valid.   If only 94% take it, the scores are deemed statistically unfit and no firings or school closures can be enacted off test scores alone.

Since test scores only measure the poverty or lack of poverty in ones parents before their child starts kindergarten, getting enough people not to take the test to make these results non-usable is indeed a worthy goal.  If the tests results are not viable and we only need about 7,000 out of 120,000 to reach that level, then the DOE will need to find another way, one that is more fair to measure, compare, schools, districts, and teachers… This time it will be open for debate.  And when it comes to what is best for our children?  Debate is a good thing…

State Code: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c001/sc04/index.shtml
ESEA, Subpart 1, Subsection 1111(b)(3):
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg2.html

And if you want to see for yourself that there is no violation listed for opting out,  check the above link listing all that is considered a violation… 

Opting out is good for you, your kids, your teachers, your school… Taking the test is good only for those who crafted, bought, and used RTTT money to pay for this test just so they could bring charters into Wilmington….

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