Every person in America has a vital interest in stopping Common Core, a top-down, one-size-fits-all government takeover of our education system. Instead of teaching critical thinking and problem solving, Common Core stresses the lowest common denominator, punishes achievement, and forces all students to conform to government standards.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mom Says She Uncovered ‘Very Shocking’ Content When She Decided to Look Over Her Child’s Vocabulary Lesson

The parents of a high school student in Farmville, North Carolina, are seeking answers regarding a Common Core-aligned vocabulary assignment given to their child that they claim is essentially Islamic propaganda.
The assignment was reportedly given to seniors at Farmville Central High School and included several pro-Islamic messages.
The worksheet reportedly read: “In the following exercises, you will have the opportunity to expand your vocabulary by reading about Muhammad and the Islamic word.”
The assignment used the words astute, conducive, erratic, mosque, pastoral, and zenith in sentences about Islam.
“The responses to Muhammad’s teachings were at first erratic. Some people responded favorably, while other resisted his claim that ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammad his Prophet,” one sentence read.
Read some of the other sentences via FoxNews.com below:
Source: FoxNews.com
Source: FoxNews.com
A parent, who asked to remain anonymous, told the news outlet that it was “very shocking” to read the religious material.
“I just told my daughter to read it as if it’s fiction. It’s no different than another of fictional book you’ve read,” she said.
One of the students who was reportedly in the class in which the assignment was given told FoxNews.com that she was “caught off guard” by the content.
“I just looked at it and knew something was not right – so I emailed the pages to my mom,” the student added.
A Pitt County Schools spokesperson reportedly confirmed the assignment is from a state-adopted workbook that meets “Common Core standards for English Language Arts.”
“Our school system understands all concerns related to proselytizing, and there is no place for it in our instruction/ However, this particular lesson was one of many the students in this class have had and will have that expose them to the various religions and how they shape cultures throughout the world,” the district said in a statement.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

‘I Don’t Want to Deal With This Nonsense’: What a 10-Year-Old Girl Had to Say About Common Core Left Parents Cheering

The school board members seemed to know what was in store — they joked about “cutting her off” as she took the mic — and they were right to be concerned.
Image source: YouTube
Image source: YouTube
When New Jersey 10-year-old Elizabeth Blaine reached the podium in video recorded by her mom Monday night, she laid right into Common Core testing and she didn’t let up.
“I love to read, I love to write, I love to do math but I don’t love the PARCC,” Elizabeth said. “Why? Because it stinks.”
The PARCC, or Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a Common Core test, and the Montclair School Board was meeting to discuss a policy that would allow parents to opt their kids out of taking it.
Elizabeth was all for the policy.
The PARCC is riddled with ”very confusing and extremely hard questions,” Elizabeth said, and in a deadly mix of unforgiving technology and the application of concepts that students haven’t learned, the test is a counterproductive mess.
Elizabeth said:
“One of the essay questions was identify a theme in ‘Just Like Home’ and a theme in ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.’ Write an essay that explains how the theme of the story is shown through the characters and how the theme of the poem is shown through the speaker. Include specific details from the story and the poem to support your essay.
“This is crazy! I am one of the most gifted students in my grade, or so my mom says, and I have not even the slightest clue what this means.”
By the time she was done speaking, the room had erupted with cheers and applause.
“I’m glad my mom and dad are letting me opt out,” Elizabeth said, “because I don’t want to deal with this nonsense.”
Watch Elizabeth’s whole speech below:
Monday’s meeting was a first reading of the opt-out policy, the Washington Post reported; the Montclair School Board will vote at a later meeting on adopting the policy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Critics say Common Core includes collecting psych data on kids

A little-known aspect of Common Core should have students worried about what goes on the dreaded "permanent record," say critics of the national education standard.
Parents in Pennsylvania have written outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett to demand a moratorium on the collection of what they describe as sensitive and personal information on students, which they say is part of a federal database to track the development of every child. And education activists around the nation say it is part and parcel of the controversial campaign to impose a uniform, national standard for math and English.
“This follows them from the cradle to the grave,” said Tracy Ramey, of Pennsylvanians against Common Core. Her group, along with Pennsylvanians Restoring Education, recently wrote Corbett to demand the shutdown of the state’s Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) in all 500 school districts.
“What’s alarming is what they are doing with the data,” Ramey said.
The process, set to play out throughout the country in what critics call a “womb to workplace” information system, was originally developed by the Department of Labor and contains information on every U.S. citizen under the age of 26. Most of the information on individuals is collected while K-12 students are in school, and includes names, grades and information such as personality traits, behavior patterns and even fingerprints. The state of Pennsylvania was one of the early adopters of the data mining and contributed to the framework for a nationwide program.
Both groups allege that any state entity as well as outside contractors can access personal information.
“This follows them to from the Cradle to the Grave.”
- Tracy Ramey, Pennsylvanians against Common Core
“The personally identifiable information includes information on every student’s personality, attitudes, values, beliefs, and disposition, a psychological profile called Interpersonal Skills Standards and anchors,” reads the letter sent to Corbett on Monday. “This data has been illegally obtained through deceptive means without the parents' knowledge or consent through screening, evaluations, testing, and surveys. These illegal methods of information gathering were actually fraudulently called ‘academic standards’ on the [Pennsylvania] Department of Education website portal.”
Anita Hoge, a member of Pennsylvanians Restoring Education, said local districts may have a need to collect some personal information, but a state or national database is a danger.
“There are two problems with sharing data beyond the local district,” she said. “First, parents are not aware that FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] regulations now allow their children's data (personally identifiable information) to be shared to outside third party vendors. And, this data is being collected and placed on a data system that is shared with the feds. This first level of data collection and sharing is a violation of privacy.”
“The second problem is that the data then becomes a ‘decision making model,’” she added. “This is where the violations of privacy are expanded for information to be used for ‘interventions.’ This is a civil rights violation.”
Pennsylvania Department of Education officials said the activist groups are misinformed.
“It’s riddled with inaccurate information,” Tim Eller, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, said of the letter. “This has been an ongoing issue associated with Common Core, [and one] which Pennsylvania is not part of.”
“It’s possible that school districts are collecting data but not probable,” he said, adding that the DOE has no outside contracts either.
The department provided a list of “data elements” that go into the PIMS system, which include semester grades and courses taken, but also information on truancy, infractions and disciplinary actions.
But Hoge said her group has proof their concerns are well-founded, in the form of a contract the state entered into with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).
“PDE has made great strides designing a comprehensive K-12 data system and creating a solid foundation for a ‘womb to workplace’ information system," reads a section from the grant contract, which Hoge's group obtained from the state Senate Education Committee. "Thus far, we have developed the foundational features of PIMS and have two years’ worth of longitudinal data in a state data warehouse.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Watch This Math Teacher Take Almost an Entire Minute Explaining How to Add 9 Plus 6 Using Common Core Math

A simple addition problem seems to become a little more complicated under Common Core. That is made very clear in a new “Homework Helper” segment that recently aired on WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York.
In the new educational segments, local teachers attempt to help confused parents better understand their children’s Common Core homework. In the introductory segment, a math teacher takes nearly an entire minute explaining why 9 plus 6 equals 15.

“Our young learners might not be all together comfortable thinking about what 9 plus 6 is. They are quite comfortable thinking about their friend 10,” the teacher says in the video. “10 is emphasized in our young grades as we are working in a base-10 system. So if we can partner 9 to a number and anchor 10, we can help our students see what 9 plus 6 is.”
She continues: “So, we are going to decompose our 6 and we know 6 is made up of parts. One of its parts is a 1 and the other part is a 5. We are now going to anchor our 9 to a 1, allowing our students to anchor to that 10. Now our students are seeing that we have 10 plus 5. Having them now more comfort seeing that 10 plus 5 is 15. That is much more comfortable than looking at 9 plus 6, an isolated math fact.”
Got all that?
Essentially, the Common Core way of solving the simple math problems has students decipher that 5 plus 1 equals 6 and 10 minus 1 equals 9 before they even solve the actual problem. One has to wonder why kids can’t simply be taught that 9 plus 6 equals 15.
Watch the video via the Foundry Blog:
And basic subtraction:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Is ‘social justice math’ creeping into your child’s curriculum?

With American children heading back to school, Thursday’s Glenn Beck Program focused on the latest developments related to the Common Core standards and how it impacts the future of education in this country. Dana Loesch spoke to Kyle Olson, co-author of Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education, about a disturbing trend in classrooms: Social justice-inspired math.

As Dana explained, because of the way Common Core has been implemented, not all private school or homeschool curriculums are safe. Furthermore, as Kyle pointed out, college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT are going to be reformatted in the coming years to be “Common Core aligned,” which means children who do not receive a Common Core curriculum will be at a disadvantage.
“Just because you homeschool or go to a charter school or private school or whatever the case may be, it is critical parents are engaged in that process, aligned with the teachers and school leaders to make sure their child is getting a proper education and one they expect for their kids,” Olson explained.
Perhaps most disturbing, however, is a trend Olson described among math materials that seeks to recalibrate the economic principles from which concepts are taught.
“There is a huge movement to push what is known as ‘social justice math,’” he said. “Proponents of social justice math don’t like how much consumerism is in math.”
If you think back to your elementary school years, your math equations probably centered around going to the store and making a purchase or having to make change in some way. Not anymore. Now, progressives are pushing to have themes like climate change and casualties of war worked into these problems.
“A typical math problem would be you have 13 cents and a green pencil is 3 cents – you know, that sort of problem. They want to get rid of those sorts of problems,” Olson said. “Instead, they want to calculate war deaths, or they want to calculate the number of liquor stores within a particular radius of the school, or problems related to global warming – those sorts of things.”
Ultimately, there is a push to insert a political and ideological bias into areas of the curriculum that should be straightforward and fact-based.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Common Core anger triggers homeschooling surge in North Carolina

homeschoolhouseRALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina officials say there has been a huge increase over the past two years in the number of Tar Heel families who have pulled their kids out of public schools and begun educating them at home.

The number of homeschools has jumped 27 percent since the 2011-12 school year, NewsObserver.com reports.
As of last year, 98,172 North Carolinian children were homeschooled; that’s 2,400 students more than the number who attended a private school.
While the sputtering economy is the reason families are choosing homeschooling over private schooling, the nationalized learning experiment (Common Core) is the main reason families are leaving the public schools in the first place.
“Common Core is a big factor that I hear people talk about,” Beth Herbert, founder of Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Association, told NewsObserver.com. “They’re not happy with the work their kids are coming home with. They’ve decided to take their children home.”
In-the-know parents understand that Common Core’s plodding approach to math instruction leaves students unprepared for college study in STEM courses – science, technology, engineering and math.
These same parents also realize that the nationalized learning standards’ emphasis of nonfiction, “informational” texts over classic literature is intended to mold students into drone-like workers, not out-of-the-box thinkers.
For some homeschool parents, it’s the Common Core-related standardized testing that they’re trying to protect their kids from.

Whatever the particular reason, it all adds up to a significant exodus from the public schools.

Homeschooling doesn’t mean kids have to miss all the social and sports-related aspects of traditional schools. Communities with a significant number of homeschoolers offer extracurricular activities for families.

Homeschooling was legalized by the state Supreme Court in 1985. In the days before Common Core, most homeschool families chose to leave the government-run schools because they were too secular, violent and crowded, the news site notes.
It’ll be interesting to see if the homeschool surge levels off once state education leaders revise and replace the worst parts of Common Core, as state lawmakers recently directed them to do.
But North Carolinians shouldn’t be surprised if it continues to grow, as homeschool parents share their success stories with others.
“It was scary at first,” homeschool parent Melissa Lopez told the news site, adding that her New York friends were skeptical when they heard her plan.
“Up North it’s not as common as it is down here so I always thought it was a crazy idea. But once I said, ‘I’m not asking for opinions – I’m doing it,’ they see it’s worked out for us,” Lopez said.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


In an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, Marina Ratner, renowned professor emerita of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, explains why the Common Core standards will make math education even worse in the United States and move the nation “even closer to the bottom in international ranking.”

Ratner writes that she initially experienced the Common Core standards last fall through her then-sixth grade grandson in Berkeley.
“As a mathematician I was intrigued, thinking that there must be something really special about the Common Core,” she recalls. “Otherwise, why not adopt the curriculum and the excellent textbooks of highly achieving countries in math instead of putting millions of dollars into creating something new?”
As she began to read about the controversial standards, however, Ratner says she hardly found any academic mathematicians who could assert that the Common Core standards were better than California’s pre-2010 standards – considered to be among the finest in the nation.
Ratner read that Bill McCallum, a leading writer for the Common Core math standards, indicated the new standards “would not be too high” compared to those of other countries in which math education has demonstrated excellence.
Additionally, she discovered that Jason Zimba (video below), another lead writer of the Common Core math standards, told the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that the new standards would not prepare students for STEM or selective four-year colleges.

Upon closer review of the standards, Ratner says she observed, “They were vastly inferior to the old California standards in rigor, depth and the scope of topics.”
“Many topics – for instance, calculus and pre-calculus, about half of algebra II and parts of geometry – were taken out and many were moved to higher grades,” she writes.
“It became clear that the new standards represent lower expectations and that students taught in the way that these standards require would have little chance of being admitted to even an average college and would certainly struggle if they did get in,” Ratner continues.
Reviewing her grandson’s math homework, Ratner found it followed the Common Core math standards exactly. Assignments on fractions required drawing pictures of “6 divided by 8, of 4 divided by 2/7, of 0.8 x 0.4, and so forth.”
“For example, create a story context for 2/3 divided by 3/4 and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient…” Ratner reads, and then asks, “Who would draw a picture to divide 2/3 by 3/4?”
Noting that, with Common Core, students are continually asked to draw models to answer “trivial questions,” Ratner asserts, “A student who gives the correct answer right away (as one should) and doesn’t draw anything loses points.”
Breitbart News asked Dr. R. James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University – who was asked to be a member of the Common Core Validation Committee but then refused to sign off on the standards – about Ratner’s observation regarding Common Core’s persistent emphasis on visual models, even for simple questions.
“It is believed by most U.S. math education Ed.D.'s that at-risk students learn better using manipulatives and that the focus of U.S. standards should always be these students,” Milgram said. “So they choose pedagogy that effectively turns off the average and even more so the above-average students in a desire to focus on the weakest students.”
Milgram observes, however, “The research on how at-risk students learn most effectively is absolutely clear on the fact that this is the worst possible method for teaching these students this material.”
“Likewise, the research on gifted students shows that those students learn best when they are allowed to accelerate and learn at their own speed,” he adds.
“Finally, over the last century, not one paper in the education literature that has met basic criteria for reproducibility has shown that the kind of group learning pushed in Common Core is more effective than direct instruction,” Milgram asserts. “In fact, a close reading of most of these papers seems to indicate that these methods are significantly less effective than direct instruction.”
“Given this, the most likely outcomes are an across-the-board-weakening of student outcomes,” Milgram warns.
“There have been some brave souls who have suggested that of course, the academics in the education schools are perfectly well aware of these facts, but the predicted outcomes are exactly what they want,” he states. “I don't know if this is the case, but it certainly explains much of what seems to be going on.”
Ratner asserts the Common Core’s so-called “deeper” and “more rigorous” standards will actually simply replace mathematics “with some kind of illustrative counting saturated with pictures, diagrams and elaborate word problems.”
With all these flaws, however, she says she is most astounded by the pro-Common Core claim that the standards are “internationally benchmarked.”
“They are not,” she writes. “The Common Core fails any comparison with the standards of high-achieving countries, just as they fail compared to the old California standards.”
The Common Core standards “are lower in the total scope of learned material, in the depth and rigor of the treatment of mathematical subjects, and in the delayed and often inconsistent and incoherent introductions of mathematical concepts and skills,” Ratner writes. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Lawmakers in Louisiana filed a lawsuit Monday in Baton Rouge district court that seeks an immediate suspension of the Common Core standards in the state’s schools.

According to the Associated Press, the 17 legislators – 13 Republicans and 2 Democrats – argue in the suit that state education leaders failed to properly enact the controversial standards that have been the focus of a heated debate between Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and John White, state superintendent.
The lawsuit claims Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the state education department failed to follow the state’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for implementing the Common Core standards.
The APA requires public notice, a 90-day comment period, and legislative oversight be provided prior to changes made to education standards in the state, but the lawmakers say these requirements were not met in the case of the Common Core standards.
“Unless an injunction issues herein by the Court, needless time and resources will be expended in the teaching, testing, learning, and financing of Common Core, all to the detriment of the citizens of Louisiana,” the lawsuit states.
BESE President Chas Roemer and Education Superintendent John White have planned a conference call to address the lawsuit’s claims.
“There are many statutes in Louisiana that require the use of the Administrative Procedures Act to implement a new rule,” Louisiana state Rep. Brett Geymann (R), one of the lawmakers who filed the lawsuit, told Breitbart News. “The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Education are not exempt from the APA and did not follow the law in implementing Common Core; therefore, they denied the public the opportunity to be a part of the process.”
“We are hopeful the court will rule Common Core invalid and we can move forward with developing our own standards with local control,” Geymann added.  
Jindal, like other governors and lawmakers, once approved of the standards, but as more light has been shed on the federal government’s involvement in pushing the Common Core standards onto the states, many are now distancing themselves in one form or another from the unpopular nationalized initiative.
On Monday, The Advocate observed that the Louisiana Common Core debate had “mushroomed into the biggest education fight” in the state, according to veteran education officials.
In June, Jindal issued executive orders to remove his state from the controversial Common Core standards and the assessments tied to them. He based this move on the argument that the decision by the Louisiana Department of Education to sign onto the PARCC Common Core test consortium was unlawful because it bypassed the state’s procurement law which requires an open bidding process.
In response, BESE voted to hire legal counsel to challenge the Governor’s executive orders, claiming his actions were illegal and defiantly asserting that Louisiana “will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as … PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year.”
Meetings between Jindal and White have failed to produce any terms of agreement in what appears to be a battle of unprecedented intensity.
The rancorous dispute once again underscores the national debate sparked by the controversial Common Core standards regarding the power of the federal government and its often allied state boards of education over the elected representatives of the people, local school districts, and parents.
Sara Wood, an attorney and parent who has been involved in organizing a grassroots group against the Common Core, said she believes White needs to be removed immediately as state superintendent.
“The longer BESE continues on this Common Core/PARCC path as a Board, it will continue to erode any trust in the ability of this Board to direct education in Louisiana and will bring more havoc to [the] lives of children, parents and teachers,” Wood said in an email statement. “After the July 1st meeting, it is undeniable that as a Board, BESE has no interest in protecting children, but it is only driven to protect its interests and agenda.”  
With every action of the BESE majority, it is creating a clear perception of its indignant presumption that it is above the law and the principal actors have no shame in acting in that manner,” Wood continued. “In continuing to ignore parents and teachers and to defy the laws and leader of our state - Governor Jindal, and by refusing to do a proper RFP for the assessments, these principal actors are only digging a deeper hole for themselves and destroying the public perception and credibility of BESE.”  

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Creative Way a ‘Furious’ Teacher Is Directing Her ‘Outrage’ Toward Common Core

A New York teacher who is fed up with the Common Core curriculum says she is venting her outrage through art — specifically painting images that aim to show “how ridiculous and nonsensical” she says the standards are.
Medina High School art teacher Jennifer Ohar Scott explained her unique form of protest to WGRZ-TV.
“As I’m painting, I’m furious,” she said. “I’m almost attacking the canvass with the brush because I’m so angry about what’s going on to these students.”
“I do what I do best,” she added. “I paint.”
The art produced, she explained, is inspired from her outrage with the Common Core standards.
“All of these paintings are put together based on images from the outrage of Common Core and how ridiculous and nonsensical it is,” she told WGRZ.
High school teacher Jennifer Ohar Scott is protesting the Common Core curriculum through art. (Image source: Screen grab via WGRZ-TV)
High school teacher Jennifer Ohar Scott is protesting the Common Core curriculum through art. (Image source: Screen grab via WGRZ-TV)
One depicts a class full of children with a man staring in through a window.
“I wanted almost to paint it like a doll house and the kids were in the school room and the school room is very small and he’s peering through the window of the doll house, kind of enjoying himself seeing the anxiety and frustration the children are going through.”
High school teacher Jennifer Ohar Scott is protesting the Common Core curriculum through art. (Image source: Screen grab via WGRZ-TV)
High school teacher Jennifer Ohar Scott is protesting the Common Core curriculum through art. (Image source: Screen grab via WGRZ-TV)
Another shows a man, not facing the viewer.
“To portray he’s not listening to people. He keep saying that Common Core and everyone likes it, but I don’t think that’s the general consensus. I think I was the most aggravated when I painted it,” she told WGRZ.
Ohar Scott told WGRZ that she thinks students are over tested as it is. She added that she feels the current system places too much pressure on individualized testing and suggested students be tested in groups to alleviate some pressure.
Nevertheless, New York State Education Department commissioner John B. King told WGRZ that the current testing is needed to assess students.
Ohar Scott’s art gallery will be on display in Buffalo’s 464 gallery through June 18.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Parents Thought They Were Meeting With the School Principal to Complain About State Testing — Instead, They Were Greeted by a Cop

Two Georgia parents who are refusing to allow their children to participate in the state’s standardized tests were confronted by a police officer and told they were trespassing on school grounds when they attempted to meet with administrators and express their opposition to the exams last week.
Mary and Tracy Finney oppose their children taking the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and had initially sent an email to administrators asking if they could opt out.
“To my knowledge, there is not an opt-out option for the CRCT since these tests are mandated by state law,” West Side Elementary School principal Karen Smits wrote back in an email, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. “I have forwarded your email to our Superintendent, Dr. Lembeck, and Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs for further guidance. Someone will be in touch soon.”
Tracey Finney and his daughter Macy. (Image courtesy of Finney family)
Tracy and Macy Finney. 
That email did not quell the Finneys’ concerns.
“With all due respect, we never requested to opt out,” Tracy Finney wrote in response. “We are REFUSING the CRCTs.”
Jack, Ian and Macy Finney. (Image courtesy of Finney family)
Jack, Ian and Macy Finney. 

The parents then scheduled a meeting with the school principal Wednesday morning. The meeting was confirmed at 6:40 p.m. the night before, but later canceled via email by Smits at 9:04 p.m.
The Finneys claim they didn’t receive notice of the cancellation and showed up at the school in the morning. They were greeted by a police officer.
According to the Journal, the Finneys said the officer was kind, but told them being on school property while actively opposed to the test was “kind of a trespassing thing.” Further, the Finneys claim, they were told their kids weren’t permitted on school grounds if they were not participating in the state exams.
Tracy Finney told TheBlaze he was “shocked” when the officer greeted him and his wife.
“[W]e were not there to fight,” he said. “We were there to ensure our children were not forced to sit in the class during the test and told to stay quiet.”
It was not clear why the officer was at the scene and a spokesperson for the school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze. Tracy Finney, however, told TheBlaze he thinks the officer’s presence was “pre-planned” because he was there “prior to the meeting.”
Mary and Macy Finney. (Image courtesy of Finney family)
Mary and Macy Finney. (Image courtesy of the Finney family)
After the incident, school officials contacted Tracy Finney and ultimately resolved the matter.
“We received an email from our assistant superintendent telling us that if our children return to school, they would be welcomed,” he told TheBlaze. “The teachers were notified that our children were not to be presented the CRCT Standardized Test, and that our documented refusal of the test would serve as evidence that we had refused the test and that our wishes would be upheld.”
“They stated that we have been made aware of the consequences of our decision. The consequences are that we would meet with the [principal] and teachers to go over our children’s academic portfolio to determine their placement for the next school year. This, in our opinion, is a MUCH better solution to placing our children than a snapshot type test,” Tracy Finney added.
He said his family is “very satisfied with this response.”

Friday, April 18, 2014

Superintendent Menlove’s Letter on Opting Out

Superintendent Menlove issued the following letter to schools just over a week ago.


Utah State Office of Education

April 7, 2014


There continues to be some confusion about students and/or parents opting-out of end-of level (SAGE and DWA) or other state-wide testing. Please be aware of the following as you have conversations with parents about opting-out of testing and in the development of opt-out forms.
1. Parents have the right to opt their children out of any testing required by or facilitated through the Utah State Board of Education. This includes all SAGE tests, Direct Writing Assessments, ACT (complete battery), ASAVB, NAEP, ACCESS testing for English Language Learners and UAA testing for Students with Disabilities.
2. When a student over 18 years old, or a parent or guardian opts-out of a state-level test, there is no requirement for an optional or alternative test to be given. For example, opting-out of a test taken on a computer does not necessitate that a “paper-pencil” test be offered as a replacement.
3. When a student over 18 years old, or parent or guardian opts-out of a state-level test, no academic penalty shall result for the student. If teachers/schools use any of these tests for grading/promotion decisions, some alternative assessment will need to be provided.
4. Opting-out of end-of-level testing, and participating in end-of-level testing, both result in de-identified and aggregated individual student data being reported to the federal government. The difference in the data shared on all public school students as required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is that the proficiency level for a student who opts out will not be reported while a tested student’s proficiency level will be reported as the proficiency level (1 – 4) determined by the testing.
5. Any student who is in school and not participating in testing should be engaged in a meaningful educational activity. Students not participating in any testing should not be singled out in any negative way nor should the student or the class be administratively punished in any way because a student opts out of testing. Items #6 and #7 address potential consequences for teachers and schools as a result of opting-out.
6. As per action taken by the Utah State Board of Education on April 4, 2014, a student who opts-out of testing will not receive a proficiency score, and for State purposes will not be counted against participation rates. However, these students will be reported as non-participants on federal reports and accountability and this may impact an LEA’s qualification for and the receiving of certain federal dollars.
7. As per current Utah State Office of Education Policy, a student who has not opted-out and is absent from school, and therefore does not participate in testing, is counted as a non-participant (both State and federal reporting) and may impact the school’s participation score which is included in the calculation for the school’s letter grade. An absent student is not included in calculating proficiency for a class, grade, or school.

Loni Schneider says:
So, let me get this straight. The state, the school districts, the schools, the administrations and the teachers are not allowed to punish the children in any way for not taking these tests. However, the Feds, who are not legally allowed to be involved in education, can punish the schools. Interesting.