Are You a Parent Fed Up With Schools Deciding What is Best for your children.
“Are you a parent fed up with schools deciding what us best for your child”
Things Parents Need to Know
1. Education is a big business. For example, the company who is contracted to prepare the STAAR tests receives almost $100 million dollars each year. This company has been paid to product Texas state tests since 2000 and has a contract through 2015. During this time the company , Pearson Publishing, will have been paid over $1 billion. YES, $1,000,000,000.00 of our tax money to one company that is based in France. What is wrong with Texas publishing companies or at least an American based company? But better yet, since money is always the issue with education, how about investing that one billion dollars in Texas Education. More qualified teachers.
2. TASA TRANSFORMED SCHOOLS: If your superintendent has signed a pledge with the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) to transform your school, then your superintendent is on your side and doesn’t want students to take the STAAR. The problem is that your superintendent is pretending that this is not so and that children are being prepared for the STAAR. But, all the while your superintendent with other superintendents is trying to take over TEXAS schools –sounds bizzare, but its true. TASA has a program and organized plan to transform Texas education and the plan does not match the plan of TEA. What a mess! While this power play is going on and big deals are being made with Pearson–yes Pearson is supporting TEA and Bill Gates with Microsoft wants all schools to use online curriculum –no printed books–of course they do. Please, do not take my word for this. Check it out for yourself. Start with finding out if your school is on the TASA tranformed list.
3. CSCOPE is the controversial online curriculum that is being evaluated by the state board of education and the senate education committee. Yet, school superintendents are still defending this instruction material–WHY?
A better question is why did superintendents purchase CSCOPE without having it evaluated?
Why did superintendents and school board members purchase CSCOPE when they knew that it had not been evaluated by the state board of education like textbooks are?
4. Texas Public Schools have lost their focus on educating our children. It has all become a business for making money. This is because parents and the community are not involved in what is going on at the school. Yes, they attend athletic events, but it has been a shock to parent that CSCOPE has been in some schools for years. As an educator, I am guilty for not knowing that my local schools are using CSCOPE. But, I know it now and am asking all parents to take a good look at what their children are being taught. Demand to see all graded papers as well as TESTS. Don’t just look at the grade. Read the papers. Shake out those book bags. Meet with other parents. In other words, be aware of what is happening in your school.
5. Opting Out of STAAR
Homeschooled students and students in private schools do not have to take the STAAR–So why are kids in public school being punished? Why are kids in public school drilled and drilled and tested through the year just so they can do well on the STAAR? Does it really matter?
Do kids in public school really have to take the STAAR Find Out Here:
Parent letter for opting their child out of state tests (TAKS/STAAR) is here. We are Texas Parents concerned about the overuse of testing in our Texas Public Schools.
Dear [Insert Principal] [insert date]
I am respectfully presenting a written statement to remove my child during the mandated standardized testing days this year. It is my parental right to choose to “opt my child out” of curriculum or instruction that is harmful to children as stated in the Texas Education Code CHAPTER 26. PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Sec. A26.010.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. I believe it is morally wrong to put children through the ordeal of a week of pointless testing. I also believe the practice of high stakes standardized testing is morally wrong. High stakes standardized testing:
AFFECTS SOCIO-EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING: Our system of constant testing seems designed to produce anxiety and depression.
KILLS CURIOSITY AND LOVE OF LEARNING: Actually limits and reduces the amount of QUALITY learning experiences. Rather than focusing on a child’s natural curiosity, testing emphasizes (and drills in) isolated facts limiting teacher’s ability to create environments that stimulate a child’s imagination.
REDUCES A CHILD’S CAPACITY FOR ATTAINING NEW KNOWLEDGE: If children cannot actively make connections between different topics of study, they don’t remember what they learn from day to day. Most standardized tests are still based on the recall of isolated facts and narrow skills. (www.fairtest.org).
REPLACES HIGHER ORDER THINKING WITH SKILL, DRILL AND KILL: Most tests include many topics that are not important, while many important areas are not included on standardized tests because they cannot be measured by such tests. Teaching to the test does not produce real and sustained gains on independent learning measures. (www.fairtest.org)
NARROWS THE CURRICULUM: The loss of a rich curriculum has been documented in research, in the media, and in teacher testimony. Forget art, music, science and PE (in spite of the decades of research that correlates student overall school achievement to participation in these experiences). State-wide testing generally focuses only on math and reading. And with these critical subjects, teachers are forced to focus only on those test-taking strategies that reflect the way material is presented on the tests.
REDUCES SOCIALIZATION AS A CENTRAL CORE OF LEARING: The opportunity to learn to socialize through recess, and collaborative classroom activities reduces children’s opportunities to develop healthy social skills. Being seated alone at a desk all day isolates children from learning how to develop community-based problem solving skills they will need as adults.
WASTES VALUABLE EDUCATIONAL TIME SPENT TAKING TESTS: Texas Public Schools will spend one of every five days or nearly 20% of the school year conducting tests. According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas public schools will spend 34 out of the 185 day long year conducting tests mandated by the state government. This does not include the regular testing in schools such as six-weeks tests, quizzes, and final exams. (State Board of Education Member Bill Ratliff, Sept 12, 2011)
VIOLATES ALL CHILDRENS’ RIGHTS TO A FREE AND APPROPRIATE EDUCATION: High stakes testing leads to under-serving or mis-serving all students, especially the most needy and vulnerable, thereby violating the principle of ‘do no harm.’ For example, students living in poverty, who already lack critical access to books and free reading, are condemned to test prep instead of having opportunities to read. Monies desperately needed for vital school resources such as clean drinking water, supplies and roofs that don’t leak are being spent on testing materials. Texas spends $44 billion per year on public education, of that $1 billion is spent just on testing days. (Ratliff, 09/12/11) Texas Education Agency spent $88 million on Pearson standardized test products, such as TAKS tests, in fiscal year 2010 for testing grades 3-11 with plans to spend $470 million over the next 5 years. Pearson is part of a London-based media conglomerate, Pearson PLC. Our needed tax dollars for Texas schoolchildren go to London. (Egan (2010) Retrieved from http://austinnovation.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/pearson-taks/)
VIOLATES FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT OF 1938: If a child is given work or assessments to do in the classroom that will eventually determine the income of a teaching professional, that student is providing the catalyst for the pay. In Texas, administrators and teachers are paid “bonuses” or additional stipends through “strategic compensation” programs that are dependent upon the school-wide TAKS (standardized tests) growth or other student performance goals. This breaches the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which states that sixteen is the basic minimum age for employment. It also says that when young people work, the work cannot jeopardize their health, well-being, or educational opportunities.
Parental rights are broadly protected by United States Supreme Court decisions (Meyer and Pierce), especially in the area of education. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents posses the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” Furthermore, the Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35) The Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402.) In Meyer, the Supreme Court held that the right of parents to raise their children free from unreasonable state interferences is one of the unwritten “liberties” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (262 U.S. 399). The immorality of high stakes testing in the public schools, as stated earlier, constitute an unreasonable state interference in the operation of public schools.
The right to opt out of standardized test ought to be an option for every child’s parent or guardian — the right to say, without being pressured or penalized by state or local authority, “Do not subject my child to any test that doesn’t provide useful, same-day or next-day information about performance.”
With consideration of the Texas Education Code, Chapter 26, and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, I would appreciate your cooperation in securing my right as a parent to opt out my child of standardized testing.
[Insert your name]
Click on link below to see an example of a successful “Opt Out” in Texas
It is time for Texans to take action.
It’s time for Texans to be involved in a “Boots on the Ground” Action Plan to take back our schools. An announcement will be forthcoming about how to get involved. Know that you will be asked for your name, email, and school district. I will only share this information with other activists so that you can be contacted by someone in your area. We have to get started and do something before school ends if we want CSCOPE to be removed from our Texas Schools.
For now, until I can get the Boots on the Ground Action Plan organized, if you want to be part of this Group that plans to be upfront and in the faces of those who have purchased CSCOPE–this will be your superintendent and school board members.
Please elect board members who want kids to be educated and not drilled for the state test.
“I’m very concerned about the harm that is created when you put inappropriate expectations on a nation of young children, you give them all kinds of damaging messages as well as increasingly eliminate their opportunities for healthy and genuine learning,” Carlsson-Paige said (An specialist in childhood development).
According to Carlsson-Paige, the drilling now done to prepare Texas Students for the STAARs is detrimental to learning. Parents are going to have to put a stop to this. In some school districts, out of the 180 days of schools, about 60 days are lost to drilling or taking prep tests for STAARs. This is 30% of the school days. Schools wait until a couple of months before the STAARs and stop regular classroom instruction and start preping for STAARs. My neighbor’s kids come home with a headache every day. Her kids don’t want to go to school and I don’t blame them.
I really don’t know how this will be stopped unless parents just put their foot down and decide not to send their kids to school during the STAARs testing.
I guarantee it will grab the attention not only of the school districts but TEA just might want to listen to what parents have to say.