Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TCAPS and SAT-10 Refusal Letter #StopCommonCore

With TCAPS for 3rd through 8th graders, and SAT-10 testing for Kindergarten through 2nd graders, it's time to take a stand against all of this testing and the Common Core. I don't like the CCSS standards. I don't like that Tennessee is now calling in the TN Core. That's not what it is, it's all the same standards as CCSS, just with a new flashy name. Anything to make you think that they've changed it, and they haven't.

We need to Refuse (Opt-Out) of any and all tests that our children take in schools to send a loud message to our governors, senators, to congress, but most of all to our President. Yes, CCSS IS federally funded and controlled, no matter what anyone tells you.

So, today, off my 6 1/2 year old son went with a letter to his kindergarten teacher to REFUSE for him to take the SAT-10 tests that start tomorrow (Thursday, Friday, then again on Monday and Tuesday next week). I talked to my son about it, and he doesn't want to take them. What I didn't know, is that since January, the kids have been having what they call "Island time." Each parent sent in a beach towel or a normal towel for their kids to sit on on the "Island," and while the kids are sitting there, they are doing some sort of test prep. I don't know if they are reading books, looking at practice tests, or what exactly. My son said that some times they would just read books, and sometimes do different things. He's only six years old, so the information from him isn't always clear. The kids are only being taught the information that is on the SAT-10 tests, and they have been doing it since after Christmas, without my knowledge! This is not ok! What about learning other things? Isn't that important? It seems all the kids do these days, including in the upper grades, is to learn about and study what is on the SAT-10 tests and TCAPS.

My son has an IEP for his fine motor skills, which will be on his permanent record because of the data collection that goes on with the testing and standards. If you think that information about your children and family isn't in a big data base because of tests and surveys that your children have been filling out in school the past few years, then your wrong. Because it is! Your children have answered personal questions about his family and home life on surveys that are given to YOUR kids, without Your knowledge!

Pep Rally's for taking the TCAP, using the "Let It Go" song from Frozen to get kids excited about taking these tests, having reward parties with ice cream after it's all over, kids throwing up and stressing out because they are being told that if they don't pass these tests, that they can't move onto the next grade, by the teachers who are supposed to be caring about Your kids, is NOT ok!

There are currently NO Laws in the United States or individual states saying that your children, our children, have to take these tests.

Below is a copy of the letter I sent, it is fixed so that you too can copy and paste it to Microsoft Word or a similar program, edit it to fit your needs, and take a copy down to the principal of your school, ASAP. If your school is testing right now, or if they plan to test the children tomorrow, next week or the week after, send in a copy of the letter below, and if you want, make one copy for the teacher, and a second copy for the principal, like I did.

Refuse Letter:

April 30th, 2014

Dear To Whom This Concerns,

Please accept this letter as record of my decision to refuse for my child, YOUR CHILD’S NAME, to participate in TEST NAME at NAME OF SCHOOL Elementary School in CITY, TN on May 1, 2, 5, and 6, 2014. (Change testing dates if you need to, and delete this sentence.)

Since STATE NAME does not have an established procedure for opting out of the new myriad of standardized testing that Common Core is promoting, I am flat out refusing to allow my child, YOUR CHILD’S NAME, to participate the (TEST NAME) SAT10 or TCAP, I also refuse NAME OF SCHOOL Elementary School or the Hamilton County BOE permission to circumvent my wishes by administering any of these tests online or in any digital format. If that means that my child will no longer be allowed access to the computers in their classrooms, then so be it. As an active parent, I would like to be provided with a comprehensive schedule of ALL testing and pre-testing, so that I may stay informed on the school day’s activities. 

My refusal to participate in state Standardized tests is because I believe standardized high stakes testing take away time from the instructional experiences my child might otherwise receive. I want more teaching and learning, and less testing! The state seems to believe that my child is obligated to participate in testing because the state or the policy makers demand it, when in fact the social contract of public schooling is grounded on the premise that the state and policy makers are obligated to the needs of children. I am aware that there is no “opt out” clause in the state of Tennessee. But the state has yet to provide any legal documentation that my child may not exercise his or her right to refuse the tests. 

For the state of Tennessee only: (Every state has similar laws, you can find them if you research it online. Please delete this paragraph if you don’t live in Tennessee.)
Below is information about the Tennessee Compilation of Selected Laws on Children, Youth, and Families, 2011 Edition: Tennessee Code Annotated:
Title 34 Guardianship
Chapter 1 Guardianships and Conservatorships Generally 34-1-102. Parents as joint and equal natural guardians of minors - Custody of minors - Support of minors over eighteen (18) years of age in high school - Property of minor - Incapacity of parents - Divorce - Commitment of guardianship to county - Guardianship instrument.
(a) Parents are the joint natural guardians of their minor children, and are equally and jointly charged with their care, nurture, welfare, education and support and also with the care, management and expenditure of their estates. Each parent has equal powers, rights and duties with respect to the custody of each of their minor children and the control of the services and earnings of each minor child; provided, that so much of the net income of each minor child as may be necessary may be expended by a parent (without the necessity of court authorization) for the child's care, maintenance and education. Funds of a minor held by a guardian shall not be expended to relieve or minimize the obligation of the parent or parents to support the minor. Acts 1992, ch. 794, § 3; 1996, ch. 1079, § 67; T.C.A. § 34-11-102.

According to the U.S Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, parental rights are broadly protected by Supreme Court decisions (Meyer and Pierce), especially in the area of education. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” Furthermore, the Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35) The Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402.) In Meyer, the Supreme Court held that the right of parents to raise their children free from unreasonable state interferences is one of the unwritten “liberties” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (262 U.S. 399). In recognition of both the right and responsibility of parents to control their children’s education, the Court has stated, “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for the obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.” (Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158). 

I understand that it is state and local policy to require all students to be evaluated for proficiency in various subject areas at each grade level. However, I believe that testing is not synonymous with standardized testing and request that the school and my child’s teacher(s) evaluate his or her progress using alternative (and more meaningful) measures including: project-based assignments, teacher-made tests, portfolios, and performance-based assessments, to be determined at the discretion of the teachers and myself together.

CHILD'S NAME is prepared to come to school every day during the testing window with alternative meaningful self-directed learning activities that support the essential curriculum, or is willing to participate in other meaningful activities as determined by the school or his or her teachers during testing times. It is my child’s right as a public school student to receive instruction daily, and if you do not do so, I will file a discrimination report with the district and consult an attorney. I am a taxpayer, and you do not have the authority to bar my child from accessing this public good of which I contribute in the form of tax payment. I will call the police if you attempt to bar my child from entering the building. However, should you prove to me in writing that this last alternative is legally REQUIRED, then I respectfully request to both see that policy as stated IN WRITING so that I may show it to my attorney, and I require WRITTEN documentation that my child and his parents WILL NOT be punished for ‘delinquency’ – and that we are EXEMPT from the usual (SCHOOL NAME Elementary School/COUNTY, TN) attendance policies. 

I have a tremendous respect for my child’s teachers and his school. You all do a tremendous job and I wish to continue to send my son to a school where he looks forward to participating every day. My school’s teachers and administrators understand that this action is no way a reflection of my feelings towards them nor is it intended as an attack toward them or the great work that they do every day. My issue is with high stakes standardized testing and the harm it does to children and our public schools. I believe we can work constructively together to ensure that my child will not be negatively affected in any way, and that successful alternatives that are neither punitive nor require further legal complications are indeed possible. 

If you need me, you may call me at (Area Code) YOUR PHONE NUMBER. A copy of this letter has also been emailed to you, so you have my email address there as well.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

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Feel free to share this with your friends and family, and anyone else who wants to take a stand with me and Opt their child out of these tests that don't in any way measure what our children have learned.

A few Facebook Group pages for you to join if you would like to learn more about Common Core:

If your in Tennessee:

You can look up your state and put in testing or common core, and local groups in your area with parents that you probably know, will show up on Facebook or any search engine.


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