The war on students who are opted out of the Common Core Test

For weeks the Malloy administration has been engaged in an immoral and unethical campaign to mislead parents into believing they do not have the right to opt their children out of the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test of a test.

Now it appears that some school districts are punishing those students who were opted out.

In what may be the most disturbing development to date, parents and students are reporting that some local school administrators are punishing students whose parents have opted their children out of the inappropriate Common Core test.

At Cheshire High School, for example, all of the high school juniors whose parents chose not to allow them to participate in the Common Core test were sent to a study hall.  However, according to students and parents, rather than follow standard study  hall policies where student can quietly utilize their computers and other electronic devices, Cheshire High  School administrators prohibited students from using their devices.  Students could not even use their laptops to finish homework.

Meanwhile, a school administrator in a school in eastern Connecticut told a parent who asked about alternative plans for students that had been opted out that there would be no accommodations made, whatsoever, for any student who opted out of the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test.

Connecticut law and regulations require certified school administrators to uphold the Connecticut Code of Professional Responsibility for School Administrators.  Those who fail can be disciplined or even have their certification revoked.

The code states that,

The professional school administrator, in full recognition of obligation to the student, shall:

(1) Make the well-being of students the fundamental value in all decision making and actions;

(2) Recognize, respect and uphold the dignity and worth of students as individuals and deal justly and considerately with students;

(3) Promote in students pursuit of truth, knowledge and wisdom, and provide access to all points of view without deliberate distortion of subject matter;

(4) Nurture in students lifelong respect and compassion for themselves and other human beings regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, social class, disability, religion or sexual orientation;

(5) Foster in students the full understanding, application and preservation of democratic principles and processes;

(6) Guide students to acquire the required skills and understandings for participatory citizenship and to realize their obligation to be worthy and contributing members of society;

(7) Assist students in the formulation of positive goals;

(8) Promote the right and freedom of students to learn, explore ideas, develop learning skills and acquire the necessary knowledge to achieve their full potential;

(9) Develop within students fundamental critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques;

(10) Ensure quality education for all students;

(11) Maintain confidentiality of all information concerning students obtained in the proper course of the educational process and dispense the information when prescribed or directed by law, governing board policy or professional practice;

(12) Ensure that all students are provided educational opportunities in environments safe from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse; and

(13) Promote ongoing development and evaluation of curriculum.

Parents whose children are being punished for opting out of the Common Core test should consider filing complaints with their local public school superintendent, with their local board of education and with the Connecticut State Department of Education.

School administrators have absolutely no not right to stop parents from opting their children out of this testing scam nor do they have the right to punish students if parents decide to opt out their children.

  • henryberry

    What Pelto describes is clearly an effort by administrators to stigmatize children who do not embrace the Malloy party line. The essence and related practices of the Malloy education policies and ends are summarized in the practice of noting as “absent” students who do not take the test. In public-school education, the term “absent” has historically and conventionally meant a student was out because of an illness or for some other reason known to the parents and accepted by the school officials. But Malloy and his henchmen and -women use the seemingly benign and familiar term to try to disguise and marginalize objection and dissent. Remember, the ultimate goal of totalitarianism is not repression and oppression (this is too much work), but the eradication of the sources and grounds of resistance. This explains the use of the term “absent” with respect to the testing; and also government efforts to control the media and the secret growth of the surveillance state. Modern government has already eradicated a major source of resistance by the monopolization of violence, and now moves on to eradicate other sources of potential resistance. Malloy’s approach to freedom of information and the bullying manner of certain top members of his administrator are other totalitarian-like practices to reach the end of absolute autocratic control.

  • Optoutmom

    Moreover, those who take the tests in Cheshire are being “rewarded” with 8 hours of community service and the chance to win a gift card from a raffle ($500 worth in gift cards) which those who complete the test immediately qualify for if they complete the test. Sounds like bribery to me!

    • ReTired

      Bribery-plain and simple. What are they teaching them in Cheshire?

    • Luv2Teach

      Oh. My. God.

  • Marcy

    Also, in Cheshire, freshmen, sophomores, and seniors are allowed to arrive at school later in the day after the testing is completed, but juniors whose parents opt them out are required to arrive at school at the start of the day for the study hall.

    • Guest

      That is clearly punishment. In my own opt out letter, I asked that my fourth grader be permitted to spend time in the library during the test, since being forced to sit still for hours through the test with nothing to do was not acceptable as it would be corporal punishment. Nor do we consider being forced to stay home acceptable. No official response from anyone yet, and it has been a week.

      • ReTired

        And you probably won’t receive one either. Your administrators will be too busy getting ready for the BOE meeting when they share that the process went well, and that next year all will be well in fantasy land!

      • speaking up

        I don’t want to use the school’s name, but when I opted my 3rd grade child out, I offered to keep my child home on the day(s) of the test. The principal had already listened to my reasons for opting out and let me know that my opinions are respected… the response to my offer of keeping my child home was “Please do not keep (name) out of school. We will provide appropriate curriculum/activities during the testing period.” The respect that this principal has shown me more than goes both ways.

  • It’s unfortunate that Cheshire high school was stupid enough to leave out some integral information when they handed out their instructions to students regarding the location that they should report to the morning of the testing, and what the expectations of them were; the part they *told* them during advisory on Monday when the written instructions were handed out and reviewed, is that they couldn’t spare the bandwidth.


    Parents should really try actually talking to their kids instead of just looking through all their papers.

    The good news is the kids completely ignored that directive and by half way through were all on their phones under the desks. At least the 20 or so kids in my son’s room.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    You fell short on this one Jonathan. “The code states that,
    The professional school administrator, in full recognition of obligation to the student, shall:”

    The professional school administrators shouldn’t be the only ones expected to follow such worthy goals. When I read that students were using their devices–or wanted to– and doing “home work” in school, gives me the impression that the parents are a big part of the problem here.
    Here’s one upstanding example:
    “The good news is the kids completely ignored that directive and by half way through were all on their phones under the desks. At least the 20 or so kids in my son’s room.” Is this “good news”? Really? this is one parent who will be very delighted in the future when she or he receives the news that her son, is a new tenant at the Cheshire Correctional Institution and end up like the many former students of the Bridgeport school system.
    If the school system fails to enforce such noble code, then the parents must step up and make sure their boys and girls know what’s expected of them and make sure that the school does their part.
    Such a noble and worthy code becomes worthless if students are too busy and distracted with their devices. It’s even worst when parents approve of such ignorance in the part of their children.

    • ReTired

      There’s nothing noble about this type of assessment. Teachers should be seen as capable of determining what their students know or don’t know. If asked, parents too would be able to identify what their children know or don’t know. Given the stage that was set mostly in part by crazed administrators, the kids are smart enough to know when they’ve been played! Rest assured there are many students who blew the CAPT, graduated, and now are valuable members of society. A standardized test isn’t the only means of determining a child’s future success.

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