Educator, author and parent activist Angela Engel recently shared some tools for parents who wish to opt their children out of state testing. Given how standardized test Data has been misused, and how testing has distorted the educational process, a growing number of parents have chosen this path– including Maria and others close to this blog.
What I personally love most about this letter in particular is that it undermines the divide-and-conquer strategy that often keeps parents and teachers from becoming true partners in the education of children. Among the biggest losses we’ve suffered at the hands of a false “reform” movement has been the erosion of trust between parents and teachers– as though teachers cannot be trusted to monitor and share children’s progress, and as though parents cannot be trusted to make informed judgments about the quality of teaching and learning in a classroom without a (profit-driven) third party beating them over the head with a number that allegedly represents a student’s (or a teacher‘s) performance.
Real reform in this area would involve creating small enough classes that allow teachers to forge relationships with their students’ families and share actual examples of student work, and giving families the time and tools they need to actually make sense of their individual student’s strengths and needs– rather than faulty graphs and percentages that mislead (or even intimidate) credulous parents into a certain course of action (or, more likely, inaction).
Below are Angela’s sample tools, for others who would like not to participate in this process. And be sure to visit United Opt Out as well.
TCAP/CSAP - Your legal rights as parents
- Real opt out letters (Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3, Sample in Spanish)
- Watch the Parents Rights bill debate
- Read the Parental Right bill
- Q&A with Angela Engel
We are respectfully notifying Powell Middle School that Grace Engel and Sophie Engel will not be participating in the state-wide assessment program, TCAP. They have alternative work and are prepared to complete their studies in the media center.
We fully trust Grace and Sophie’s teachers and their assessment of our daughters’ educational needs and progress. As parents, we support a meaningful education, one filled with passion, inquiry, discourse, imagination, and critical thinking – all wonderful things cultivated by excellent teachers- and those very things that high-stakes testing jeopardizes. When it comes to accountability, parents are the first line of defense and it is our responsibility to advocated for our children, a quality education, and meaningful learning opportunities.
Angela and Paul Engel
Angela’s Action Steps:
Parents, if you have experienced educational malpractice or attempts to coerce, cajole and outright bully parents into high stakes standardized testing, or if your children have experienced any name-calling or intimidation, one of our stalwarts, Nina Bishop, is collecting the information so that the ACLU has a good idea of what so many of our parents and their children are enduring in our schools under the misnomer of education reform.
Please get in touch with Nina and share your story. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can simply send the letter to her via traditional mail. The ACLU requires that all documentation be sent via traditional mail. Here is the pertinent information:
3065 Windward Way
Colorado Springs, CO 80917