Please sound off!
COMMENTS OF THE DAY:
My children proudly say the Pledge of Allegiance with their hands on their hearts, and celebrate St. Valentine's and St. Patrick's day. They celebrate WWII day while learning about history. Thousands of D181 Christian children participate in Halloween, St. Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's day activities at school, though, even though the law says you are not supposed to celebrate religious holidays. We all make exceptions because to me, and many others, its not THAT big of a deal. I understand that parents don't want to make their children uncomfortable by standing up for their own religous convictions, so parents let it slide. My children are Christian and participate because they need a break every now and then even though our church tells us not to celebrate Halloween. Do I think its weird that our High School is named after the devil and there are depictions of satan everywhere? Yes. Its creepy, but that is a battle I don't feel like taking on in this town. And if I were HIndu, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, or Muslim, I would wonder why the schools don't celebrate any of those holidays. However, I understand and sympathize that these are events that provide fun and motivation for kids.
But with PARCC testing, the schools are clearly distorting the law and are trying to pressure our kids to do things that are educationally very controversial and criticized. We parents have every right to stand up for these facts. Forcing all children to take an experimental test that our superintendent still has no idea of when or what kind of data will be collected from the PARCC is silly and not beneficial in any way for our kids or our teachers. I make my children take the MAP tests, school tests, try to get them to do all of thier homework, and participate in after school activies. The MAP tests are enough. This last month, after the Map, my child took the Algebra readiness test and 2 other tests that I didn't even know existed. That's fine. They are well respected tests that provide excellent results - granted someone in the district looks at them. But this is why I refuse to let my child waste 5 days of practice testing, and then testing for the questionable PARCC test. Illinois is only onoe of the last 10 states still using this test - and we know where Illinois ranks in school achievemment. Below average.
I am all for follwing the law, and for encouraging my children to folllow the rules, but when the law is misunderstood, and children are losing out on valuable instruction time that they are owed, that's when it is time for parents to advocate for their children.
If some parents like their children sitting in a chair for 5 days practicing how to use headphones and and how to answer practice questions on a laptop, it makes me wonder why. Our children have been using headphones and laptops since they were 3 years old. It is a terribly redundant and wasteful way to make our children spend their time in school. I resent the fact that I went through this last year, even though I provided all the necessary facts and data, yet they still disrespect the law and my wishes. Standing up for our country's laws is our civic duty. If our schools are now teaching our children that it is wrong to follow the law, and does not really support democracy, then why are we teaching history and social studies?"
November 10, 2014
Deptford Township School District
2022 Good Intent Road
Deptford, NJ 08096
Attention: Paul Spaventa – Interim Superintendent
Reference: xxxxx and xxxxx Carr - Refusal of all State Standardized Tests
Dear Mr. Spaventa:
We have read your response letter, numerous times in fact, and we are a little taken aback by it. We are in no way asking for your permission to REFUSE these standardized tests, assessments, questionnaires and surveys for our children. The Constitution and Supreme Court rulings supersede any authority you think you may have over our decision as taxpaying parents within this district. It is our right as parents to refuse to allow our children to take the state standardized tests because our 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 possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children” and 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).
Please see additional rulings:
It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder. . . . It is in recognition of this that these decisions have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.
- Prince v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944)
This Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
- Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974)
In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the "liberty" specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes the rights . . . to direct the education and upbringing of one's children.
The Fourteenth Amendment "forbids the government to infringe ... 'fundamental' liberty interests of all, no matter what process is provided, unless the infringement is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest."
- Washington v. Glucksburg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997)
The liberty interest at issue in this case-the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children-is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.
In light of this extensive precedent, it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.
The problem here is not that the Washington Superior Court intervened, but that when it did so, it gave no special weight at all to Granville's determination of her daughters' best interests. More importantly, it appears that the Superior Court applied exactly the opposite presumption.
The Due Process Clause does not permit a State to infringe on the fundamental right of parents to make childrearing decisions simply because a state judge believes a 'better' decision could be made.
- Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000)
Furthermore, there is no “federal law” that requires the state or district to “implement” anything you referred to, or you would have included that paperwork as well. The state implemented common core standards and standardized tests voluntarily, to obtain Race to the Top federal funds. Period. It’s bad enough that the Federal Government has resorted to blackmailing the states to receive their own money, we will not allow the District to visit the States’ burden of obligation on our children. Your own paperwork on Title 6A:8-4.1 states that the District “SHALL” administer the tests; it does not say that our children have to TAKE these tests. We understand that neither of our children are of the age to be subjected to the PARCC test yet, but we REFUSE any and all state assessments that are common core aligned, up to and including it and the MAP tests.
You did not have to make this adversarial; you could have just accepted our refusal as many reasonable districts around the state and country have done. As we’ve stated in our original letter, we have the utmost confidence in the teaching skills of our son’s teachers and their ability to determine and calculate their grades from daily class participation, class work, home work, quizzes and tests. We believe these standardized tests to be developmentally inappropriate and contain questionable and often inaccurate material, and will not subject xxxxx and xxxxx to the inevitable anxiety and stress that children all over the country are feeling.
We are prepared to go to the media, the ACLU and to obtain legal counsel if you do not comply, and our parental rights or the rights of our children are violated. That includes carrying out the “sit and stare” policy that some districts are enforcing, as this is psychological child abuse and will not be tolerated. We do not expect our children to be retaliated against or treated any differently due to our position on this subject. It is by no fault of their own that they are in this situation. Nor do we expect to have to repeat this every time a standardized test is administered. This refusal should go into both of our children’s files.
To reiterate: Deptford School District does not have our permission to compel our children to take any state / district standardized test or assessment. Under our guardianship, our minor children will refuse same. In addition, various tests / assessments will be properly scored as a “refusal,” will be considered “invalid,” and will not be included in the participation rate. Any attempt by your school district to otherwise code, score, or deviate from these instructions would constitute a due process violation of governmental procedure. Furthermore, during the administration of any and all make-up tests, my child will continue to receive a free and appropriate public education in his regular classroom environment, alongside the rest of his classmates. You are hereby on notice that any state agent who ignores my parental instruction, and/or who compels, harasses, intimidates, or otherwise forces my minor child, or attempts same, in any way, to participate in any standardized test or assessment, and/or who takes any action that causes my child emotional, psychological, and/or physical harm against these express instructions, will be in violation of federal and state constitutional law, statutory law, and common law.
I trust there will be no further need for clarification.
Kevin W. Carr
Stacy L. Carr
cc: Mr. David Hespe, Acting Commissioner of the NJDOE
Ms. xxxxx, President, Deptford BOE
Mrs. xxxxx, Principal
Mr. xxxxx, Principal
Mrs. xxxxx, Teacher
Mrs. xxxxx, Teacher
Mrs. xxxxx, Teacher"
We have been asked by a reader to move all PARCC comments we have received on this blog to this post. We are happy to oblige below.
When our BOE first started trying to get their heads around Common Core I made it a point to tell them this was first and foremost a POLTICAL movement. I believe this more strongly now than ever.
As I have said before, the TESTS of PARCC clearly do seek out a specific kind of response that is highly convoluted and literally will punish students who get the correct numeric answer without the silliness of making tally marks. It is quite simply not worth wasting the time of our students with such nonsense for many trivial questions but that is EXACTLY what is expected on too many items.
The sad reality is that these sort of test items are in fact a covert effort of the supporters of Common Core to impose specific methods of instruction upon teachers. This is a dangerous precedent and one that steps over a line that devalues the skills of teachers; instead of merely suggesting a range of techniques for teachers to have "in their toolbox" it artificially locks teachers into using only "approved tools" in the way that a totalitarian regime would limit logical uses of resources. There is widely retold quote that is relevant here: Why use shovels if spoons involve more laborers?
Similarly John Dewey, the noted American advocate for education, wrote in 1915:“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy.”
The School and Society, Dewey, University of Chicago Press Instead excellence and opportunity what we get with the Common Core is very different. Bill Gates, one of the major financial backers of Common Core went to the elite private school, Lakeside, near Seattle, he and his wife Melinda send their children there now. There you'll find nothing like Common Core -- Lakeside contrasted with Common Core
We must not allow our schools to be dragged down through this silliness. Yes, take the tests. Heck, do what we must to mollify the bureaucrats that are pushing this latest fad, but DO NOT impose a regimented and small-minded orthodoxy upon the whole range of learners. This is not mere "malpractice" but true villainy -- if we abide this foolish punishment of students that are able to quickly and accurately solve problems without crutches how long before we also see to it that swift swimming athletes carry along added ballast so they may flounder at the bottom of the pool along with poor swimmers?
PARCC will be a disaster.
Our district should not be eliminating the MAP test. And it is going to happen.
Seriously parents-we can't let them discontinue its use because it is the ONLY stable (yet just one data point) that we have.
PARCC is going to be a disaster-and I hope with all my heart that the movement towards Common Core encounters more resistance-because it is PURELY POLITICAL! Just look at Obama Care-many of the arcitects of Common Core are buddies of this administration that just flats out LIES to the public.
The word "political" should always be attached to the PARCC test and Common Core.
We should be stalling the race towards Common Core, and PARCC because there's no guarentee that is going to be fully implemented. States are pulling out-and quick frankly-all district don't have the money for it. It's beyond ridiculous! Extreme left/right pipe dream. Please understand I'm not ripping on Democrates-because I think Reublicans came up with their own version-I disgusted by the extremests on both sides that want to destroy our children's education.
For those of you with students in D181, this deals with the Winnetka school district's superintendent warning parents about the PARRC assessment. Have parents in D181 gotten anything similar this year?
No, we have not gotten anything similar. In fact, my principal, as well as Dr. White, keep talking about how fantastic common core is. This is troubling indeed.
Sounds like integrated classrooms are the norm now in this district. How are we going to tackle this huge controversial shift in the midst of the huge controversy of common core? It seems so reckless and irresponsible on the part of the administration!
I was just looking at correspondence from the district from last year. Everything was about Learning for all being about acceleration. But now there is no acceleration at all. I'm confused. I am new to the district so perhaps I am missing something but it seems like we have done a 180 flip with no notice to the public. What gives?
My children have been in a few school districts yet this is the most disorganized disfunctional one that I have encountered. I thought this was supposed to be such a good school district? I can tell you from experience that it is not. The Chicago public schools - which we moved here to get away from - are FAR FAR better!
Since I attended this Monday's D181 BOE meeting and witnessed Kurt Schneider's "cry baby behavior, " I have to comment that I have never in my 40 years of involvement in education ever seen such unprofessional behavior by an educator. For Schneider to whine IN PUBLIC about how mistreated he and his bunch of believers have been was so incredibly inappropriate and, if I had been Dr. White, I would have stopped Schneider from continuing with his statement. I was so embarrassed for D181 when I witnessed a D181 administrator moaning about how picked on he has been by the parents and community. UNBELIEVABLE! It's bad enough that the inappropriate Learning For All program exists in D181, but to then have Schneider complain IN PUBLIC about how horribly he has been treated...well, my solution to his problem is GET OUT OF D181!!!! Go with your so special colleagues to some other school district or back to Wisconsin. I thought Janet Stutz was horrible but she was just clueless as far as curriculum. Schneider is so misguided as far as what needs to be happening in D181 it is an abomination. His "social justice" crap might be appropriate in Bolingbrook or West Chicago, but it has absolutely no place in D181. Parents and, above all, our teachers must make Dr. White and the BOE aware now that you will not put up with this misguided approach. It may have to wait until the April 7 BOE election, but every single parent and community member had better get out and vote in the election so D181 can turn this situation around. Everyone, get educated on the issues and the candidates and then VOTE! Please let us have learned something from the awful debacle that ocurred in the last D86 election.
This article answers the question concerning opt out of the PARCC.
Also take a look at the online practice test questions before deciding if you want your child subjected to this unnecessary assessment.
Why is this test being given in March and then again in May?
I also heard some of the regulations on testing, to prevent cheating. Some make sense, like not allowed to have cell phones/computers since a kid could just look up the answers. However, some are idiotic and makes you wonder if the test creators have ever stepped inside a classroom. Examples include that in math, you get scratch paper and a pencil. The pencil must be a #2 wooden pencil. WOODEN?!? Why can't mechanical pencils? Plus, some LA tests provide audio portions of a question. Students can NOT change the volume in the middle of a test. I guess the program that provides the test can't differentiate between a student opening a new web browser window looking for answers, and the little volume level thing that pops up. This does begin to express how I feel about this test: http://i2.wp.com/hotnerdgirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/picard-facepalm1.jpg
Besides field trip days, don't forget no class time for SELAS training so our children can learn that it's bad to lie and bully. Really? Then why do our administrators lie and bully us into taking the PARCC. We already make our kids take practice SATS and ACTS. All they really need is more time with their teachers.
Are they the same test?
Will we receive results from each?
What is the purpose of two week long tests?
Sounds like the computerized PARCC is too complex and our district should have only signed up for the paper and pencil version. Or better yet, scrap it like CPS did. I don't want my children missing any more instructional days. Let the kids take it over the summer with proctors, not teachers. Our children's time in school is valuable. It shouldn't be wasted on practicing for a PARCC test that month after month, more and more states are abandoning. Missouri just dropped PARCC and now only 10!states are left holding the bag.
Last year Lyndsey debated the value of standardized testing. In the process, her English 2 Honors teacher (with a Masters in education) shared that she got less than 50% on the Sophomore PARCC. So I am not afraid to share my humble scores.
Matt & I just took the 5th Grade LAE PARCC & got 33/40. We went back, checked our reasoning and stand by our answers. Then we went on to take the 5th Grade Math PARCC. Once we hit equations Matt QUIT, because he could not get the equations in without blank boxes popping up. The process is not purely intuitive - the technology is way behind - and falls short of testing knowledge. I have a 1988 BS & BA from Purdue University plus a 1991 MFA from Rutgers - and I was so FRUSTRATED that if I had been on a laptop I might have thrown it! Matt & I scored 9/9 on the math for the simple answers - but I could not enter any equations in the order I processed them. Only by writing it out, then transferring could I get the equations in.
I found "Technology is not up to the task at hand!" So I challenge all of you to take whatever grade level test you choose - and share your successes and failures. Here's the link: www.parcconline.org Sample tests can be found by clicking on the scrolling slideshow - then go down to grade level tests, pick a grade and enjoy! Let's see who takes the challenge - maybe we should post our official PARCC results.
And yes, Ms. Quinones is correct in saying that they haven't determined the cut scores. They also haven't figured out what data will be reported and what the reports will look like. A significant waste of effort...
What does it mean here? What happens if one falls below the cut score?
(those are ISAT terms, don't know if PARCC will be the same)
At the school where I teach (not D181), today was Day 2 of PARCC ELA for 6th Grade. I did not administer it, but it seemed to go pretty smoothly. Heard student chatter about the small number of questions on the test. No significant technology gaps - I was kind of surprised!
Also surprised to read on this blog that they knew of a child who had a completed most of the test and had to retake. When we trained we were told that if such glitches occurred at most 3 answers would be lost as the PARCC system swept the answers in onto the server every 3 questions. Depending on the question a child was on and when the last sweep was, they would lose 1, 2 or 3 answers at most. Not that the loss of even 1 answer is good, but it was interesting to hear that maybe that is not so.