It looks like we are getting closer to some kind of bill from Albany regarding parent opt out rights with a controversial bill introduced by Catherine Nolan. Jim Tedesco claims portions of his bill were plagiarized to create the Nolan bill below.
His main concern is the new bill leaves out the requirement that parents are notified of their rights. We liked that part of the Tedesco bill, we also like a portion of Catherine Nolan’s bill that directly addresses protections for parents who opt out in section 3 below. Unfortunately those protections are extended to people who have a vested interest in the results (or lack of). This problem along with Jim Tedesco’s observation makes this bill in need of revision.
A. that this webpage is not an official copy the Ao6777 NYS Senate bill which can be found here – http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=%0D%0A&bn=A06777&term=2015&Summary=Y&Text=Y
B. this webpage may contain errors.
C. this webpage is for entertainment use only.
If you disagree, stop reading and visit google.com
St a t e o f N e w Yy o r k
2015-2016 regular sessions
iIn a s s e m b l y
April 2, 2015
Introduced by m. Of a. Nolan, russell, arroyo, blake, colton, cook, fahy, kaminsky, linares, lifton, o’donnell, scarborough, silver, simon, solages, thiele, otis — multi-sponsored by — m. Of a. Glick, hevesi, magee, markey, mosley, rivera, walker — read once and referred to the committee on education
An act to amend the education law, in relation to providing parents with the right and authority to exempt their children from taking standardized assessments
The people of the state of new york, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 319 to read as follows:
S 319. Student exemption from standardized assessments.
1. A parent of a student or person in parental relationship to a student shall have the right and authority to exempt such student from taking standardized assessments, including but not limited to the state third grade through eighth grade math and english language arts assessments, a state field test assessment or a state assessment administered for purposes of, or pursuant to, section three thousand twelve-c of this chapter. The parent of a student or person in parental relationship to the student shall notify the school principal in writing or other verifiable means, as determined by the school district, at any time prior to the administration of such assessment or assessments.
2. The school shall offer to students exempted by their parents or persons in parental relation from a standardized assessment pursuant to this section alternative educational or enrichment programs during the time that such standardized assessment is administered.
3. There shall be no retaliation or other negative action against a student, parent, teacher, principal or building administrator, school building or school district in response to a parent’s exemption of a student from standardized assessments pursuant to this section. –Emphasis by whydad.net
s 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Two mothers in Minnesota have written opinion letters which claim teachers promoted the parental right of opting out of the state standardized tests directly to students. While doing so, teachers allegedly warned the students that school lessons (government services) would be missed if they didn’t opt out. If the allegations are true, the Minnesota parental right to chose to refuse does not seem to be a true right or a choice in any sense.
Here are the quotes-
Beth Hawkins – “Test anxiety: Is it the kids or the teachers who are driving opt-outs?” Minn Post 03/19/15
“Last Thursday my son, who is typically a reliable narrator, came home from Southwest High School with what I initially imagined was a tall tale. He told me I’d be getting an emailed version of the form Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) asks parents who object to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) to sign. I should agree to exempt him, he explained, because teachers were warning kids that anyone who took the annual state proficiency exams would miss a lesson that would be delivered at that time and would thus risk falling behind. His friends were either asking their parents to sign or forging their signatures.”
Lynnell Mickelsen – “6 thoughts about the opt-out movement -Are Teachers Trying To Dump The Evidence?” Star Tribune 03/23/15
“According to the girl, her 10th-grade English teacher had handed out the forms to everyone in class and had urged them to get their parents to sign it. The teacher said that if enough students opted out of the Minnesota Comprehensive Exams, eventually the state would stop giving them. He also said he’d conduct regular classes for everyone opting out, leaving the impression that those who took the test would fall behind.””
In prior articles we suggested that allowing teachers to directly promote test refusals was a conflict of interest that would inadvertently produce an atmosphere of fear, coercion or worse. The allegations above seem to depict all three and a very poor solution that results in no teacher accountability or observance of parental rights.
Thankfully there are other organizations that are on the right track. For example, the Delaware PTA is at least mindful of the possibility of fear and intimidation occurring and the largest teachers union in NY (NYSUT) has advised their members that talking directly to students/parents may have legal problems. For now, these solutions seem to be the best that parents, professionals and the taxpayer can hope for in order to avoid Minnesota’s “wild west” approach.
In conclusion and once again… refusing the state tests should remain a personal choice and right without influence from teachers and administrators who have a vested interest in the results.
It was suggested that our concerns of incentivizing fear and coercion for vested interests were poorly conceived…
On 3/24/2015, the Delaware PTA issued a statement in support of a parents right to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
“Delaware PTA will not encourage any parent to opt their child out of the test. We firmly believe each decision and subsequent reason for opting out is unique. We also firmly believe that this is a personal decision that must be made by the parental unit.”
Later on in the statement, they felt it necessary to include this language:
“Address parent/teacher concerns of fear and/or intimidation regarding the parent opt out”
The Delaware Opt Out movement seemed to be happy with the positions taken by their PTA “This is a HUGE step in the opt out movement Delaware parents! “
Hats off to the Delaware PTA for their willingness to recognize all of the concerns raised by their members.
In the Facebook group Stop Common Core In New York State, parents have begun posting a variety of allegations concerning direct discussions between teachers and students regarding the NY standardized tests. Some of them are quoted below:
In our article titled Superintendent Paladino was right for the wrong reasons , we commented that it was wrong for teachers to talk directly to parents about the tests when they have a vested interest in the results. We suggested that doing this would inadvertently remove a parents right to refuse without fear, coercion or worse. As a hypothetical example, we put forth this scenario:
… imagine you are a parent and your child’s teacher talks to you about test refusals. After the conversation, what do you do if you were planning on your child taking the test? If you allow the test to be taken anyway, will this teacher take it out on your child at school? Will the last regular grade of the year be mysteriously low? Will your child be marked as testing trouble by other teachers in the future?
The negative mental questions a parent can think of are limitless. As a parent, your only logical choice is to refuse the test to avoid any questionable activity by the teacher now or in the future.
The Bill of Rights guarantees every American citizen a variety of individual freedoms that may be enjoyed without fear, coercion or reprisal from the government. Teachers are government employees and if the above allegations are true, they may have instilled a coercive atmosphere into children and their parents. There should be no protection for this kind of activity as it is a breeding ground for government corruption and tyranny.
In NY, a few well meaning politicians have written a bill to dispel the confusion surrounding parental rights in refusing test participation by ensuring parents are aware of their right to refuse. An action that is nearly moot at this point unless you live in a cave. Nonetheless, a required statement like this will certainly serve as a reminder of parental rights long after this controversy settles down.
The real problem lies within a sentence on the petition website produced by these politicians:
“The bill protects teachers from being penalized in their evaluations due to a lack of student participation “
We believe the statement nearly guarantees (and incentivizes) teachers will turn up their attempts to persuade children and parents to refuse a test instead of placing their monetary & labor concerns where they belong; with their union representatives who are supposed to negotiate with elected public servants who represent the interests of people. As we have said before, refusing the state tests should remain a personal choice and right without influence from teachers and administrators who have a vested interest in the results.
Below is a video of Tory Lowe from the group Kingston Action For Education. In the video she is addressing a crowd at a school meeting which includes Kingston Superintendent Padalino. Tory Lowe’s main points are to inform parents of their right to refuse the upcoming state tests and to inform people that teachers are being prevented from telling parents about their rights. At :48 she asks the teachers if any of them are allowed to speak to parents and the voice replies are “no” or “not us”. Later on she addresses Superintendent Padalino and asks him if he is OK with teachers sending information home and having conversations with parents about refusing the test.
In his answer, Superintendent Padalino focuses on why the tests are needed and how the results are useful to him. He is in favor of these tests and very clearly not in favor of teachers promoting test refusals.
Although Mr. Padalino gives reasons for his data driven needs, there is a glaring problem with teachers being allowed to speak directly to parents to advocate for refusals. Namely, these tests are made to judge the teacher and not the student. The “high stakes” are the teachers “high stakes” and have little if any repercussions for the vast majority of students (this may change in the future). Any teacher who directly discusses test refusals with a parent (or student) has a major conflict of interest. Such discussions may also be inadvertently taking away a parents right to choose to take or refuse the test.
… For example, imagine you are a parent and your child’s teacher talks to you about test refusals. After the conversation, what do you do if you were planning on your child taking the test? If you allow the test to be taken anyway, will this teacher take it out on your child at school? Will the last regular grade of the year be mysteriously low? Will your child be marked as testing trouble by other teachers in the future?
The negative mental questions a parent can think of are limitless… As a parent, your only logical choice is to refuse the test to avoid any questionable activity by the teacher now or in the future. Basically, a conversation like this can effectively cancel your right to make a decision without fear, coercion or worse.
According to NYSUT, this may be a legal matter and advises the following at the bottom of their test refusal fact sheet:
Locals and individual union members who advise parents or students to opt out of state tests may face risks.
We believe NYSUT is referring to certain cases in this matter:
We also believe that NYSUT was 100% correct with their advice to locals and members regarding what they may and may not do/say.
In the video the superintendent appears agitated at Tory Lowe which may explain why he didn’t elaborate on the legal aspects of allowing teachers to promote test refusals. It is one thing for a parent to convince another to opt out as there is no apparent liability to a district, it is an entirely different story to have officials and their representatives doing this. Although Tory Lowe and her group may want teachers actively convincing parents to opt-out, Superintendent Padalino’s rejection of the idea is likely avoiding years of costly litigation at the expense of the students and Kingston taxpayers.
We firmly believe Superintendent Padalino used the wrong reasons to defend the right policy. The reasons he put forth have critics on countless websites and in the press that detail every nuance imaginable. One of those websites stopcommoncorenys does a good job at presenting a response to various claims in Superintendent Padalino’s reply.
In conclusion, opting out of the state tests should remain a personal choice and right without influence from teachers and administrators who have a vested interest in the results.
Side note: During our review of this article we noticed a newspaper discussing this particular meeting.
The young lady in the video below discusses some key issues with her CT. Common Core “education” and the classroom information being distributed as meaningful text. While we aren’t familiar with what is being passed as text in CT, she makes a very mature observation that matches our core belief about Engageny ELA modules. To paraphrase:
“If you receive anything related to Social studies in your English class… Question it. ”
Student Sydney Lane, New Milford CT.
The student is correct that every ELA text or document should be scrutinized and researched if it relates to Social Studies (Soon to include all courses). From experience in NY, we have seen half documents given out to hide their true meaning and portions of famous books excerpted so that students could only come to one wrong conclusion.
This kind of manipulation is rampant in the ELA modules at Engageny.com. The lesson modules are restrictive of outside sources and rely on a students natural ignorance of a topic. If CT aligned curriculum is anything like NY, her 7th grade class will soon be subjected to the lies and distortions put forth in the Caesar Chavez address module, which is presented to students as a civil rights -social justice document. It is clearly something else as we discovered by questioning and investigating the wild accusatory claims with political and racial overtones.
Aside from Sydney’s observation, she offered up two examples of her required texts. One of her example quotes was “American pride seems excessive”. We could not locate that document on the web unless the text was from an article on the humor website The Onion which has a similar sentence: Only 5% of Americans Have The Correct Amount Of Pride. To that end, we can only say it’s the Onion… It is biased humor and doesn’t belong in a serious class as fact or fiction.
We were able to locate her second quote regarding North Korea and Cuba having the “game” to try Communism on a defunct website called the Casual Truth. The article, “What Is Communism” depicts Communism and Socialism with a very light brush considering their common bloody history of genocide and oppression (past and present). The article also seems to suggest that Communism fails only because the core ideology wasn’t followed correctly. That is the favored excuse of the Occupy Wall St. crowd, Socialist non profit organizations, countless teachers, professors and their students.
With that in mind, perhaps it would be a good idea for “revolutionary” and “fairness/equality/equity” minded educators to learn the song below. It was written by students during the Chinese revolution for teachers and administrators who were labeled enemies (eventually everyone was labeled an enemy, it is the only fair conclusion). The educators were forced by students to sing it with insults written on their dunce hats. Additionally the educators were routinely beaten, tortured, killed and ridiculed to a point of suicide by their own students with no trial. The only thing resembling a trial might be the surrounding “struggle meeting” where a collective group of students discussed the situation to democratically decide the fate of the victim. A concept that should sound eerily familiar to teachers using Common core/Engageny group-think methods.
I am an ox-ghost and snake-demon
I am an ox-ghost and snake-demon
I am guilty, I am guilty
I committed crimes against the people
So the people take me as the object of dictatorship
I have to lower my head and admit to my guilt
I must be obedient
I am not allowed to speak or act without permission
If I speak or act without permission
May you beat me and smash me
Beat me and smash me
Source – Student Attacks Against Teachers: The Revolution of 1966
Additional Source – The Teacher Holocaust (This website is a better version than the original Chinese to English version above)