Choice–It IS YOUR Choice Who Parents YOUR Child

“Choice” – It Is YOUR Choice Who Parents YOUR Child

We had to share this from a mom who is not going take it anymore and we want to encourage you to stand up too! This is in NY. And it begins….

On Sat, Sep 10, 2016 at 9:38 AM, (The Principal) wrote:
Good Morning,

I hope (child’s name) is enjoying the start of the school year.
In regards to your request, all students are expected to take the iReady Assessments. iReady will give us instructional information for students. There is no formal process for parents to refuse participation in academic testing developed and used by the District. Below is a link to additional information regarding iReady on the (School name) School District’s website. I understand you have also sent this request to (school district person’s name) however if you still have further questions please contact her office.

Sincerely,

(Principal’s name)
Principal
(School name) Elementary School
Sent from my iPhone”

The mother wrote responded:
“Good morning to you as well.

I’ll just dive right in – “expected” does not equal “mandated”, and even if it were mandated, I’d still refuse participation. You see, I am the parent and until some desperate attempt at legislating my rights away – my parental rights usurp what schools perceive as their rights over MY child.

Formal or informal, official or unofficial, the school does not dictate what I allow as I am the ultimate authority over my child.

She will not be participating in yet another experiment. You and I will have to navigate this together. Here’s looking forward to an amenable relationship as we both work towards the end goal of educating children – with the childs [sic] well-being the focus. We do not have to be adversaries. I’d much rather us partner together to navigate issues such as this.

Thank you for your response (which from the delay in timing, I attribute to you contacting school authorities and lawyers to make sure you’re protected). It is as I expected, and I don’t fault you for protecting yourself – just remember, when it comes to MY child, I am the ultimate authority, and I am well versed and current in the goings on in today’s education reform. I won’t be intimidated or scared into agreeing to do something I know is wrong.

iReady was piloted for a couple of months for a select few grades in a select few schools – where are the reports of that pilot? When was that presented to the community, or the parents, or our useless rubber stamping, NYSED water carrying board? It wasn’t.

When would you like to meet? I can meet any week day at 430…

With ultimate authority as a parent,
(Parent’s Name)
Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

Here are KACC’s thoughts prefaced with the message that this mom above is spot on and we are proud of her for taking control and making clear what she will and will not allow. These are OUR kids and parents have every right to stand up and speak up for what they want and against things that schools should not be doing.

Per the principal’s comments, it’s not just academic testing, there’s NO process (formal or otherwise!) for parents to PARTICIPATE (choosing to OR refusing to!). PARENTS are RESPONSIBLE for directing the education of their child, NOBODY else! The overwhelming posture of the academic community is that those in education, from the USDOED and USDOL to State DOEs to elected officials to teacher unions to boards of education to principals and administrative staff, are exclusively responsible for a child’s education. Those in education don’t know what to do with a parent who even acts in a mode of responsibility toward her child. Responsible parents are instead demonized.

By design, God entrusted children to parents, to raise them to be God-fearing. (Those who think this is a “religious” statement cannot dispute the fact that children ARE born to a man and a woman—parents, not any other combination.) Children were not entrusted to the government or elected persons or teachers or unions or businesses or accountability metrics.

Parents need to write/scream whatever that they all want choice in their public schools—a choice between classrooms with chalkboards and textbooks and classrooms with only high-tech; a choice in whether to participate in any class, program, initiative, assessment, individual education plan, etc.; a choice in whether to have any information regarding an enrolled student shared beyond the enrolled school, including with the state. That message has not gotten through.

The only people who should have a “vested interest” in a child are the parents of the child. The parents should be the ONLY ONES to determine the child’s course of education. The parent/child must be the owners of the child’s intellectual property – this is in line with a person’s right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Anything less than this can only be viewed as THEFT, at a minimum. Note the principal’s statement, “iReady will give us instructional information for students” (emphasis added). The child AND his data are viewed by the school, et al, as belonging to the school to be used by the school, et al.

This parent’s communication is what needs to be promoted and happening in EVERY school in every state. Trying to work with presidential candidates, D.C. departments, elected officials, and school administrations hasn’t and won’t change anything without parents politely, but with absolute firmness and authority, declining to operate within the current flipped paradigm.

To Survey or Not To Survey…Oh, and Opt OUT of State Testing :)

State testing isn’t the only thing parents have control over in their child’s time at public school. There are other things you can opt out of besides state testing. One of them is the Kansas Communities that Care survey. I’m attaching (at the bottom of the post) it here so you can see it for yourself. This one is sometimes viewed as an “opt in” rather than an opt out. So, that means that they have to notify you about it, you have to sign that you DO want your kid to do it, or else it is assumed that your child will not be participating. I’ve seen a few variations on this, so, it’s possible that your district could be offering either opting in or opting out.

Basically, this is a big data collection point. Some districts, like my own, no longer offer it. If yours does, then you can absolutely opt out of it. Many districts just send home a form to sign and it’s just that easy.

One of our KACC leaders submitted testimony about this survey back in February of 2015, I think. In part, here are some of the points she made:
• Parents are told the surveys are anonymous. However, the first 20 items the kids fill out are personal identifiers. These include: school district, building number, age, grade, gender, race, number of siblings, grades (A, B, etc.) usually received, parents’ level of education. Consider this being administered in a small school district; it wouldn’t be very hard to pretty accurately determine individuals.
• If the information on the surveys is completely anonymous, then why isn’t the complete data from the surveys available to parents and the public? Per Nancy White, with the Southeast Kansas Education Center – Greenbush administering agency, they “protect” the data, with only data down to building level being provided to school superintendents. If it’s anonymous, why does the individual survey level data need to be protected?
Considering the amount of personally identifying questions in combination with the type of questions and manner in which they are phrased, it is disturbing to me that, until recently, parents were not even apprised of their kids taking the test. But even the notification we received last year was misleading, at best. And, parents only having the option to “opt-out”, rather than “opting-in”, especially without explicit knowledge of the survey, is concerning.
• Do the intervention programs change student behavior? I asked Nancy White whether there was any data to substantiate whether the Intervention programs implemented as a result of these surveys actually resulted in a change in student behavior. She said “no”, her agency doesn’t have evidence based programs with measurable results. She mentioned that some organizations may have evidence based programs, but that hers doesn’t. One such organization that does have evidenced based programs is the Regional Prevention Center in Olathe, KS. Schools may also elect to forward survey information to other organizations, such as the Johnson County Mental Health Center.
• School approved activity. From a broader perspective, I have to ask WHY is the inclusion of these types of activities deemed acceptable in our education institutions. This survey is not germane to the education of a student. While education institutions have taken on the mantra of the myriad of social issues and causes, I do not want schools “instructing”, and thereby “influencing”, my kids in these areas. I especially do not want my kids being tracked, inventoried or graded in these areas.
CONCLUSION
At issue is the fact that, as Nancy White with the Southeast Kansas Education Center – Greenbush explained to me, passive permission by parents was changed last year to now require an active permission to occur for kids to participate in this survey. Her concern is a perceived lower participation rate due to parents having to actually “opt their kids in” to taking the survey. She stated that “parents forget to send things back”.
So, there is concern that fewer kids will complete the survey. There is concern that parents will forget to submit the permission form. The concern over not “enough” students completing the survey because parents may not “do what we perceive they need to do”, results in agencies and institutions setting up environments to make allowance for perceived lapses in human beings to “do the right thing” to “force” or “ensure” the desired outcome.
However, in my (a parent’s) opinion, the needs and goals of the agency are super-ceding what is in the best interest of the student. The needs and goals of the agency have super-ceded the express right and responsibility of the parent to determine what is in their child’s best interest. This is an invasion of privacy of children and families.
There used to be an assumption of privacy. If a person or group wanted an individual’s personal information, they had to go through steps to acquire that information. Now, there appears to be an assumption of a lack of privacy. With this presumption of no individual privacy, the individual must go through steps to protect and prohibit others’ acquisition of private information. This is backwards.
I find it amazing that this and other agencies have a problem with acquiring parent permission to collect data on students. Students are not the property of the state or any agency or any other institution. Students are individuals whose parents have the sole responsibility for their well-being. There is not a baby factory spitting out kids somewhere in Kansas, who are then “placed” by the state with adults to be raised under the auspices of the state. Babies are born to parents, who have the privilege and responsibility of raising them to the best of their ability (even abilities not necessarily looked favorably upon by others) and protecting them. Data on students attending educational institutions, whether it be obtained through surveys or other processes, is not the innate property of those institutions. It is the student’s data, and parents must be allowed every opportunity to prohibit the data collection in the first place. Having to ask for permission, “mother may I”, to acquire data seems a simple and civilized thing to do.

As a general rule, I say “no” to all of these sorts of things and much, much more. Believe it or not, you have more say in your child’s education than you think. So, say no to this survey and ones like it, and then since you’re on a roll, go ahead and say no to state testing while you’re at it. 🙂2016-KCTC-Comprehensive-1-1

Heads Up…And OPT OUT of State Testing

Fine Followers-

Two years ago the Kansas Department of Education declared that we were out of the Smarter Balanced testing consortium and that our state assessments would be returned to the University of Kansas (CETE). For a brief moment, we were thrilled. That is until we dug just a little deeper to find out that CETE then farmed out that testing to none other than Smarter Balanced. So, it was really nothing but a poorly veiled smoke screen.

Fast forward to February 2016–present day. According to The Street and PR Newswire,

“Questar Assessment Inc. will administer the spring 2016 English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) summative assessments for grades K-12 for the State of Kansas.”

You can read the whole thing here: http://www.thestreet.com/story/13454317/1/questar-assessment-inc-to-administer-elpa21-k-12-summative-assessments-for-state-of-kansas-in-spring-2016.html

So, at first glance, this too seems like it might be a good thing. However, let me point out two damaging facts. 1. Questar is ALIGNED with Smarter Balanced. Here it is from the Questar website (and I will add the screen shot below as well):

“Our system features a bank of 26 technology-enhanced items types that include all recommended by the Smarter Balanced, PARCC and ELPA21 consortia, as well as a unique audio item type that allows students to respond with, and be scored on, recorded voice responses.”
Here is the website:
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.35.42 AM

2. The Kansas Education Commissioner, Randy Watson, is telling Kansans that we do not have Common Core in Kansas. That is just not true. The Kansas College and Career Ready Standards ARE Common Core. The fact that this Questar test has connections with SBAC (Smarter Balanced) and PAARC, means that the tests ARE ALIGNED to the Common Core Standards, AKA Kansas College and Career Ready Standards. Abraham Lincoln said, “How many legs does a dog have if you count his tail as a leg? Four. You can call a tail a leg if you want to, but that doesn’t make it a leg,” so do not let this twisting of words fool you.

So….what to do??? OPT OUT! Opt out your kid(s) from state testing! It’s not too late! Here’s all you need to do:
1. Write a note to the principal saying that you want to opt your kid out of state testing–both formative (little tests that happen during the school year) and summative (the “big” tests in the spring). KEEP A COPY for yourself. Make sure that it’s dated and has your kid’s full name on it and your signature.
2. Know that your child cannot be punished for not taking the test.
3. Some parents pick up their kids during state testing times. Some parents help provide another activity for their kids. Some kids work on existing assignments (not additional assignments), some read for pleasure, some do an art project or practice their instrument, and some help a teacher. These are just some suggestions.
4. This isn’t about what’s “best for the school,” but rather “what’s best for your kid.” Always keep that in mind. YOU are your child’s first and best advocate.

Let us know if you have questions and thank you for all your support!
KACC

Gear up to Opt Out…Part I

I cannot believe I am typing this, but school is just around the corner. 😦

Registration is coming up fast (next week for many of us!) and it is the perfect opportunity for you to get your kid(s) OPTED OUT of state testing.

It is recommended that parents to do this at the BEGINNING of the school year. (YES, you can do it at ANY time, but the beginning is best.) We all know about the “big” tests in the spring, which are called “summative” tests. But, there are also many, many smaller tests throughout the school year called “formative” tests. So, it is best that you OPT OUT of all of it. It’s VERY easy to OPT OUT.

Just write a note to your principal(s) saying you want to OPT OUT your kid(s) from all state testing–both formative and summative.

It is also suggested that you request that no data about your kid(s) “leave the building” unless it is required by law.

If ever there is a question about what you will or will not allow your child to participate in, make sure that the administration and the teachers all know your contact information and encourage them to make contact with you so that you can gather the information from them that you need to make a decision about whether or not to allow it.
optoutdesks

Common Core is Predatory…Gear Up!

Common Core is Predatory
By Rosy Schmidt, Kansans Against Common Core
Edited by Courtney Rankin, Kansans Against Common Core
February 9, 2015

I often carry a favorite photo of my youngsters when I go out and fight Common Core. It is a favorite photo (of course) and one that reminds me why I jumped into the Common Core fight last year. In the photo is my seven-year-old redhead dressed for Halloween as Lucille Ball and her compliant three-year-old brother dressed as a dinky Ricky Ricardo. It makes me smile and it reminds me why I am willing to leave my comfort zone to read legal documents, research like my life depended on it, and leave dishes in the sink for three days at a time. My kids. America’s kids. A couple weeks ago, I saw the motivational photo that will now replace the photo of my darlings. It is a heartbreaking image that I know will keep the fire burning in my belly when I get tired. It is the image below, of that little boy struggling with his Common Core homework. It displays and evokes emotions that I cannot even describe. Moms and dads, we must not tolerate this any longer; we must protect our kids!! Common Core is predatory.
cryingboy.jpg
It wasn’t even a month ago that I actually scribbled to myself “Common Core is predatory.” It is predatory for the way it causes children to suffer the “age inappropriate, error and trick laden, too much, too soon, too fast, common core homework,” as described on the stopcommoncorenys website, which posted this photo. The post said it received “hundreds of commiserating comments within a half hour.” When we posted on our Kansans Against Common Core Facebook page, it received more than 11,000 hits in three days.

Common Core has been predatory from its behind-closed-doors inception, starting with the gutting of privacy laws that have been in place for decades to protect our kids from this very thing. It is predatory in how it collects massive data on our kids, data that is, frankly, none of their damn business, and data that is very likely to get into the hands of who knows what creep. (Oh, that’s right; Common Core does not technically collect data on kids—it’s the state longitudinal data systems that do this, and the “Social, Emotional and Character Development” (SECD) standards…and all of the other enticement programs that the dealers deal and that they have aligned to Common Core). Bribes. We’ve been warned about that.

Predators also operate by exploitation and control and Common Core plays by these rules, too—in their ever-expanding networks of players who seek to exploit and control kids and schools (and school budgets)—testing companies, survey groups, book publishers’ marketers, on-line app providers, and so on. Predators use people and they are using our kids and schools.

It is predatory in how it shamelessly advocates and normalizes pornography for our still impressionable high schoolers. “Here, we can look at this together…we don’t have to tell your parents.” Check out these books, both on your high schooler’s Common Core English Language Arts Appendix B reading list: The Bluest Eye and Dreaming in Cuban. Did you know that “The National Sexuality Education Standards” are aligned with Common Core? Did anyone ask you what you thought appropriate for your child? Predators love to keep the protectors, the parents, out of the picture.

Predators love to marginalize parents. They often have a honed ability to fool parents through long-held trust. Predators know that parents, by and large, have always trusted what teachers taught. Teachers must now teach Common Core (or else) and the predators use this trust for cover. What is the threat that the Common Core predators use to keep teachers quiet and compliant? Their evaluations. You see, teacher evaluations (and their very livelihoods) are now to be based on high-stakes Common Core-aligned test scores!

Predators steal souls. That’s what they are doing to teachers, too; they are stealing the soul of teaching by snuffing creativity, judgment, experience, and independence. Here are the numbers of teacher retirements for the last five years: 2010: 1028, 2011: 1508, 2012: 1260, 2013: 2084, 2014: 2,199. Is this coincidence?

Common Core has turned some good people with good intentions into addicts, addicts to the drug of federal money. The covert implementation has happened in record time. It has attempted to wolf down the sovereign educational rights of nearly all 50 states. Read our wonderful 10th Amendment again, would you? Do we really have to hear anymore to know that, right now, we need to ACT—to get this predator out of our neighborhoods?
Will you help us tack some hides to the barn?
Hides.jpg
Gear up…the real fight begins February 10!

GET YOUR GEAR HERE:
Order your 3” buttons here!
Donation of $4 each or 3 for $10
+Includes shipping
+Specify “Apple” or “Wolf” and the quantity of each
+Send your requests and money to: KACC PO Box 645, Andover, KS 67002
*Buttons and t-shirts will also be available at our rally at the Capitol (info to come soon!)
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“Apple”
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“Wolf”

HEADS UP ON TESTING! Break Kite Day – October 28th

SmallApple

Thanks to KACC mom, Courtney, for sharing this information!  Please take time to read, and click on the links to the KSDE documents for details. 

I was doing some other research today and stumbled across 2 important things. Please pass this along ASAP to those you know who care about state testing or have their kids opted out!

1. A testing schedule for this school year. Note how MANY there are and how much time it takes to give them. Then, think about how much time it takes to PREPARE for these exams.

2. Below you will see something interesting. They are having a “test run” of state testing on Oct. 28th.  Need to pass this along to EVERYONE.

From the document – Break Kite Day

PURPOSE
To test out the bandwidth of local buildings and the bandwidth and load balancers of CETE servers by simulating operational testing conditions during one school day.
ON OCTOBER 28TH
Students will be pre-assigned to the two tests associated with their grade level. All they will need to access the test is their user name and password. No ticket numbers are necessary. Schools should rotate students through computer labs all day Tuesday (if possible), asking them to take both tests, simulating, to the degree possible, a real testing day. (In full in attachment.)

*NEW* Opt Out of Assessments (VIDEO)

School may be out for summer,
but you can still find information about opting out of assessments.

Check out this great video (less than 2minutes) created by a Kansas dad…  watch, share and OPT OUT!

VISIT: OPT OUT for Information and Forms.

Common Core Testing Opt Out Form

Common Core Testing Opt Out Form – Version 2

Common Core Testing Opt Out Form – Version 3 Letter

Opt Out FAQs

Letter from KSDE – Opt Out

Articles: Testing and Opting Out