Questions Every Public School Parent Should Be Asking Now

School has been in session for weeks in some areas, and about to begin in others. Parents are frustrated about the onslaught of testing that is ALREADY bearing down on some children. The tests are coming more frequently, and counting for more than ever. The measures necessary to accommodate testing have grown ridiculous, stealing irreplaceable instruction time from our children and scarce resources from their schools.  The 2014-2015 OCPS Assessment Calendar is a graphic example of over-testing.

School districts tout the need for teacher accountability. It’s time to flip this script on false accountability.

Parents must demand real accountability from our school leadership. NOW, not later, NOW is the time to get your school administrators thinking about the reasoning, or the lack thereof, behind the policies they uphold.

CALL TO ACTION:
Here is a list of thought-provoking questions for you to present. You may be surprised by some of the answers you receive. You might surprise them into realizing that they haven’t considered some of these questions themselves. Send your questions by e-mail. We would appreciate it if you would share your school’s responses in the comments below.

 

   Reporters take notice

Every public school parent should be asking these questions now… and you should demand REAL answers.

—> For principals:
1. How many standardized tests does my child have to take this year?
2. Where do these tests originate?
3. What is the specific academic purpose for each one?
4. How will these tests affect my child’s academic future or standing?
5. For each test, does the teacher see individual student results and have a chance to adjust individual instruction to help each student?
6. Who sees the scores, where will they be recorded, and for what purpose?
7. Do the scores become part of my child’s record?
8. Who in the district instructed you to give these tests?
9. How much time does the administration of each test take?
10. What training was provided to staff and how much time did that encompass?
11. Explain how costs for each test are used in a way that is in the best interest of your students.
12. How many staff are being taken away from teaching or counseling duties to administer each test?

—> For school superintendents:
1. Identify by name and frequency each standardized test your district requires in each grade.
2. Explain where these tests originate and, for each, explain its specific academic purpose and the year it started.

—> For school board attorneys:
1. Explain your district’s policy on opting out of/refusing standardized tests and cite its legal foundation.

—> For school board members:
1. How do you view the academic purposes for standardized testing?
2. Are you familiar with all the standardized tests your district requires, and their academic purposes?
3. Are you willing to initiate a parent/teacher review of the use of testing in your district?
4. Is this test mandated by the state or is this a district choice?
5. What are the costs associated with this test per student and to the district per grade level?
6. Will you provide the district’s opt-out policy to all parents in writing?

—> Tweetable link: http://bit.ly/1rdxUhQ

These questions were written with the help of a current teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous and with retired, Nationally Board Certified Teacher and journalist, Mike Archer, who was featured in Anthony Cody’s: Florida Teacher: “I was among those who reviewed Common Core in 2009.”

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About The Opt Out Florida Network

The Opt Out Florida Network represents a community of opt out groups and administrators from across the state. The network originated with the work of Opt Out Orlando. However, knowing there is power in numbers, we recognized the need for a broader coalition with more engagement and grassroots action at the local level. The OOF network is a community where parents, teachers, and students can share stories and information; discuss testing, policy, and schooling practices; and become politically active! We advocate for multiple measures of authentic assessments, such as a portfolio, non-high stakes standardized tests (Iowa Test of Basic Standards (ITBS) or the Stanford Achievement Test(SAT10)), which are used to inform teachers' instruction of their students and which do not result in punitive consequences for students, teachers and schools. Formal and informal, teacher-designed classroom assessments provide the best indicators of children's progress, growth and mastery of concepts and skills. The Opt Out Florida Network rejects high stakes testing as meaningless and detrimental to the development of a creative, nurturing and supportive learning environment. View all posts by The Opt Out Florida Network

15 responses to “Questions Every Public School Parent Should Be Asking Now

  • Dave Zirkle (@davezirk)

    Excellent, I just shared this on the Opt Out NJ page. The cost of the testing is a big concern to me also.

    Liked by 1 person

  • dbpigtail

    Reblogged this on Oneonta Area For Public Education and commented:
    It’s not too early to start thinking about the next academic year and the questions you need to be asking when it comes to the tests your child(red) will be facing. Ask questions, get informed.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hannah

    Sharing on FB, and I think ALL parents should ask these questions, not just parents of children in public schools. Parents of children in private schools and charter schools should be asking these questions as well.

    Like

  • Shirley Deckard

    I am in Indiana, and have been on a school board for over 20 years. I can tell you that you will not find one superintendent, one principal, and very few school board members who disagree with you and your stand on these issues in this state…unless you go to voucher/charter school personnel. Please see the position on these on the National School Board Association’s site. Thank you for your actions and your words. We all need to work/fight together on these issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Opt Out Orlando

      Thank you for your encouragement, Ms. Deckard.

      I think that parents become frustrated when we get agreement from administrators and elected officials regarding our position on high stakes testing, but so few will actually speak out publicly on the issues of the very high stakes attached to standardized testing. How do you suggest parents, teachers, superintendents and school boards work together to end the damage caused by high stakes testing in our public schools?

      Thank you,

      Sandy Stenoff
      Opt Out Orlando

      Like

  • Jean McTavish

    Thank you Opt Out Orlando for leading the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  • jennsuis

    Great article and questions! Just posted on the website I administer, Teachers Standing for Solutions. Over standardized testing in public schools is unbelievable. My 7th graders and I counted 60+ tests! The public needs to be made aware of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Laura

    Thanks for the great guidance! I sent an email out to the Sup. tonight. I wanted to come across as genuinely interested (I am) and as friendly as possible. Here’s what I wrote.

    I am interested in opening up communication about testing in the district. I am one of many parents who are concerned about testing on our children.
    Are you able to identify by name and frequency each standardized test your district requires?
    Can you explain where these tests originate?
    Do you know the specific academic purpose and the year it started?
    Thank you very much for your time and attention to these questions. I appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Laura

    Here’s my letter to principal. Again, I adjusted some of the questions slightly as to come across as least confrontational as possible.

    I am currently taking your school into consideration for enrollment of my child. I have a few questions about testing. If you don’t mind answering, I’d really appreciate it.
    Thanks!

    1. How many standardized tests does my child have to take in a school year?
    2. Where do these tests originate?
    3. What is the specific academic purpose?
    4. How will these tests affect my child’s academic future or standing?
    5. Does the teacher see individual student results and have a chance to adjust instruction to help each student?
    6. Who sees the scores, where will they be recorded, and for what purpose?
    7. Do the scores become part of my child’s record?
    8. Who in the district instructed you to give these tests?
    9. How much time does the administration of each test take?
    10. Was training provided to staff?
    11. Explain how costs for tests are used in a way that is in the best interest of your students.
    12. How many staff are being taken away from teaching or counseling duties to administer each test?

    I realize this is a lot of questions. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
    Sincerely,

    Liked by 1 person

  • Joan Harris

    If you understand that Standardized tests provide no useful information there is little purpose in asking these questions. If you believe that children are developmentally different then you will not want them to be evaluated except by direct observation.

    Like

    • Opt Out Orlando

      Joan – Thank you for your comment. You are correct.

      However, the purpose in asking the questions is as much to get the district and schools to see that they (often) don’t know the answers to these questions. The nature of the questions makes it clear that they should know more. A slow education process to make them question why they might believe the tests are valid in the first place.

      Like

  • tina neace

    May I use some of the verbiage in the address to parents to the letter i am sending to our school board?
    Thank you
    Tina Neace

    Like

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