Greenwich superintendent joins Commissioner Pryor in misleading parents

Here we go again!

Instead of fulfilling their legal, moral and ethical duty as a superintendent of a public school system in Connecticut, yet another public school superintendent has decided to join the Malloy’s administration’s ongoing efforts to mislead Connecticut parents into thinking that they do not have a right to opt their children out of the absurd, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test of a test.

This time it is Greenwich Superintendent William McKersie.

Yesterday, April 24, 2014, Superintendent McKersie sent a letter to Greenwich parents, students and teachers saying;

Over the past several days, there has been discussion about students being able to “opt out” of the Smarter Balanced Field Test.  One or more unofficial flyers…have been circulating in the district and at Greenwich High School.

Let me be crystal clear:  Per Federal and State regulations, students do not have an “opt out” option with the Smarter Balanced Field Test.

With that letter, Greenwich’s superintendent of schools has decided to knowingly and intentionally mislead the parents that are paying his salary and the students that he is obligated to protect.

In response to Superintendent Mckersie’s outrageous letter, public education advocate, award-winning columnist, and Greenwich parent, Sarah Darer Littman, wrote a letter to the members of the Greenwich Board of Education that stated,

I would like to draw your attention to the underlined phrases in Superintendent McKersie’s email, which was sent to parents of Greenwich Public School students earlier today. I assume you are aware of this memo. Are you also aware that the information Supt. McKersie gave out to parents is patently untrue?

Let me be crystal clear: There is NO legal provision to prevent parents from opting out of the SBAC field tests. If you would like confirmation of this, please watch the video below, in which State Board of Education Chairman Allen Taylor confirmed this point.

I question why the superintendent, who is being paid with our taxpayer dollars, is lying to parents, and my question to you is: Did the Greenwich Board of Education condone this dissemination of false information?


Sarah Darer Littman is absolutely correct…There is NO legal provision to prevent parents from opting out of the SBAC field tests.

As many readers know having read the following Wait, What? posts,

Pryor: Enough! Read the statute and back off the lie that students must take the common core test

Malloy, Pryor, Superintendents – Stop lying about the Common Core Smarter Balanced Field!

Connecticut parents – Don’t let them lie to you on opting your children out of the Standardized Testing frenzy

And Who on earth would require HS juniors to take the Common Core Field Test in the spring?

Here are the facts;

First, as Littman explains, the chairman of the State Board of Education admitted – on tape – that parents have the right top opt their children out of the Common Core test.  (

Second, Commissioner Pryor office sent out a memo late last year instructing superintendents on how to mislead parents into thinking they could not opt their children out, but even that memo ended with the instruction that;

[IF] “Parent writes back to the district a letter explaining that they have read and understood the district’s letter, but insist that the child not be tested.”

[THEN] “In these cases, the district generally does not test the student and the student is counted as “absent” (for purposes of testing)…”



Third, the law that Pryor and now Greenwich Superintendent McKersie are claiming requires that public schools conduct the “Mastery Test” is Section 10-14n of the Connecticut State Statutes.  However, the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test of a tests is, by its own definition, not a Mastery Test as defined under the law so under no circumstance does that law apply to this year’s Common Core testing scheme.  [And even if it did, the law fails to give school districts any authority to punish parents of students for opting out].

Fourth, the reference to federal law limiting parental rights is totally inaccurate.  There is absolutely nothing in federal law preventing parents from opting their children out of standardized test.

Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor and superintendents like William McKersie need to stop lying to Connecticut’s parents and students about the Common Core and its related testing.

In this case, Greenwich Superintendent McKersie needs to issue an apology and inform Greenwich parents and students that his recent letter was wrong.

If he fails to take that appropriate step, then on behalf of the parents and students of Greenwich, the town’s elected representatives should demand McKersie’s resignation.

  • realsaramerica

    It gets worse – and this is why I am so furious about adults in public office modeling to our kids that lying is okay. Greenwich High School student body president lies to his fellow students: GHS student government president talks SBAC exams

    • jonpelto

      These people will stop at nothing – to get the class president to lie to their fellow students is a new low

      • realsaramerica

        To be fair, he’s just parroting what he was told by the higher ups. But again, I reiterate – what kind of example are the so called adults setting in this situation? No wonder Wall Street is rife with fraud and politics with corruption.

      • brutus2011

        I agree. The $$$ stakes are high for these folks.

        Not only for the privateers but also for the public school administrative bureaucrats.

        I think this underscores a huge problem–most people simply do not understand what goes on in educating our children–not only from the teaching end of it but also from the management end of it.

        Given this, these people will stop at nothing to ram this “reform” down our throats.

        How can the average person be made to be aware of the stakes involved and how they are being manipulated to serve a for profit agenda?

        • realsaramerica

          The sad thing is, Brutus, when Malloy was trying to pass the edreform bill, I approached the GHS PTA to try and get them fired up about opposing it because of all the additional testing, but….no response. I don’t think parents thought through that it was actually going to affect THEIR kids. They thought it was aimed at, you know, OTHER kids.

        • Teacher Mom

          Same in my town. We asked them to address the data concerns and they refused. We asked them to notify parents about the March 12th hearing so parents could express their concerns about all these reforms sapping our local control, and they wouldn’t.

          Oddly, the regional calendar is a big enough deal that parents received an email about that suggesting we write to the State.

        • realsaramerica

          Couldn’t possibly be because the National PTA received Gates Money to pimp for Common Core, could it?

        • Teacher Mom

          We are a Parent Faculty Association. I wonder if they are connected to PTA??

        • Philip Stull

          Part of the plan is to put and keep families in stress so that their first concerns are keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table. To expect them to fight for public education when thet are fearful and stressed is not going to happen. Remember that real wages have been going down for decades so just like the frog in the pan of water on the stove they don’t know what is going wrong but they know that things are getting worst. Fighting in the public is not fun and most who rather just duck their heads a struggle on hoping that things will get better. First it was wives getting a job, then the children followed, and then more credit card debit just to stay afloat. Ask the average HS student how many hours they work after school to buy the new necessities and you discover that many of them with school work 50 to sixty hours a week and their families need them to work. It is the new form of serfdom. Those of us that can fight must soldier on in the hope that when others get into the voting booth they will vote their values because poll after poll shows that the majority when they understand the issues are with us.

    • Philip Stull

      Class Presidents are under administrative pressure to tow the line. Fight the administration and risk real consequences. Their is not freedom of speech in HS, so don’t hold this against this student. Back in the hallways the truth is circulating fast. Been there, know them.

  • Magister

    What makes it absurd is that the cat is already out of the bag; other districts have already given the SBAC, with students opting out in droves. It has already been happening!

    • guest

      I am a teacher and Mom to a current junior. There was NO WAY I was going to let my son be a guinea pig and waste his time taking SBAC. Our tests were a couple of weeks ago, my son stayed home during testing and studied for SAT’s. I was somewhat harassed by our upper administration but, after fully reading the law, I felt comfortable enough to stand my ground. There were no consequences. A parent has the legal right to “opt out” or “refuse the test” no matter what anyone says!!!