Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tell Bully Principal How You Feel

This week in the Opt Out of Testing - New York group (there's a group for each state) one parent shared the response of her school's principal in regards to opting out of tests.  As you'll note in the email below the principal not only disregards this parent's decision to do what is best for her child, but he threatens to contact child protective services.  

Why on earth have administrators let it come to valuing test scores over the requests of parents and their children??? 

Appalling! 

The principal disregarded this parent's request and forced her child to take the test.  
Join me in writing to this principal to tell him his actions are inappropriate and he should rescind his threat and issue a public apology. I wrote to him a couple days back. Not surprisingly, I have yet to receive a response. You can find the principal's email and information here: http://www.oceanside.k12.ny.us/2florence/principal_message.htm 

Here is the email he sent:
This letter is in response to your April 15, 2012 email and follows up today’s
telephone conversation. In your email, you requested that the Oceanside Union
Free School District (“District”) not administer the New York State English
Language Arts (“ELA”) and Math Assessments to your son, Joseph. During today’s
telephone conversation, you reiterated this request. Upon my informing you that
the State Assessments are not optional, you indicated that you planned to
either: (1) keep Joseph at home for the period during which the State
Assessments were administered, (2) keep Joseph at home for the portion of each
day during which the State Assessments were administered, or (3) send Joseph to
school with instructions not to take the State Assessments.

I remind you that, pursuant to the Regulations of the Commissioner of
Education, all public school students in grades three through six who have not
been deemed eligible by the CSE to take the Alternate Assessment, and are not
parentally placed on home instruction, must take the ELA and mathematics
elementary assessments. See 8 N.Y.C.R.R. §100.3(b)(2). As you know, Joseph
does not qualify for the Alternate Assessment. The Regulations contain no
“opt-out” provision, which would authorize a parent to have his or her child not
participate in the State Assessment. It is the District’s obligation to
determine all eligible students’ proficiency levels through the administration
of the State Assessments. As such, taking the State Assessments is mandatory
for Joseph.

If without medical justification, Joseph is absent from school on any day
during the Assessment period, the District will deem this absence as unexcused.
Further, if you keep Joseph home from school during the Assessment period,
without medical verification, it is within the District’s discretion to deem
these absences as indicia of educational neglect, which would leave the District
little choice but to contact Child Protective Services (“CPS”). Pursuant to the
New York State Education Department’s 2012 School Administrator’s Manual, a
student will receive a final score of “999″ and will be counted as “not tested”
if: (1) he is absent from the entire test; (2) he refuses the entire test; (3)
he is absent for any session; or (4) he is present for all sessions, but does
not respond to even one question on the test. Accordingly, if Joseph engages in
any one of these activities, he will receive a final score of 999, he will be
counted as not tested, he may receive an unexcused absence, and CPS may have to
be called.
 If Joseph does not participate in the State Assessments, the
District will use other formal or informal assessments to determine his
proficiency level. If Joseph participates in the State Assessments, he will of
course be provided with his IEP-mandated accommodations.

I hope the above has clarified any outstanding questions you have about
Joseph’s obligation to participate in the State-mandated Assessments and your
obligation to make him available for testing. We look forward to having Joseph
participate in the State Assessments.


Here is the email he was responding to sent from the parent:
(Note. Per reader request, the following was added on 4/20)



To: Thomas M. Capone
Subject: Opt Out

Please be advised that my son Joseph will not be taking the New York
State assessments on April 17-19 and April 25-27. After watching Joseph
struggle and listening to his concerns, we have decided to opt out of this
unnecessary testing.

I am requesting that Joseph be given an alternative real learning opportunity
option.



Joseph, was tested against his and his mother's request and wrote this letter.
Joseph advises me that he was forced to take the assessment today against his wishes and mine in a separate location, thereby resulting in emotional and physical stress. He is now complaining of a headache and “knots in his back”.
Not only have you violated my parental rights, but now you are failing to implement my son’s IEP, which as you know is a legal document.

I specifically direct you to pages 11 and 12 of Joseph’s IEP (the testing accommodations section) wherein it states he is to begin exam in mainstream setting with significant proctor attention to reduce test anxiety.
While I do not feel the need to threaten you, I must advise you that should this situation occur again, I will be forced to contact the authorities.
__________________
Who else is writing about this?
Strictly Secondary: The Standardized-Testing 'Enforcer' Named Capone

Real Parent Empowerment is a Rebellion

American Principals in Action
Grumpy Educators
Schools Matter
Forget the Label
LI Families

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