Yes to SBAC opt out request brings Bristol CT off the SBAC Wall of Shame

Connecticut school district reverses decision and recognizes a parents fundamental right to opt their child out of the Common Core SBAC Test!

Thanks to a courageous mother and son, Bristol’s superintendent has recognized the fundamental right of a parent to opt their child of children out of the discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scam.

Featured here at Wait, What? and on the local NBC affiliate, Christine Murphy stood up and spoke out in an effort to protect her child and children across Connecticut from the Common Core SBAC test that is intentionally designed to ensure that up to 70 percent of Connecticut’s children are deemed failures.

Governor Dannel Malloy is not only a key supporter of the Common Core and the Common Core SBAC Test but his administration cast a vote in favor of implementing SBAC pass/fail (cut-scores) at a level where the vast majority of Connecticut students will fail.

In Bristol, when Christine Murphy informed her son’s school that she was opting him out of the unfair Common Core SBAC test, local education officials – using faulty directives from Malloy’s Department of Education – told the mother that she did not have the right to remove him from having to participate in the Common Core SBAC testing scheme.

But since then, Bristol education officials have seen the light and have informed her that they will follow her directive and that her son will be exempted from the Common Core SBAC tests.

As reported in the Bristol Press,

A Bristol mother was granted the right to have her son not take the new standardized state test, even as school districts and the state want to discourage other parents from opting out.

Christine Murphy said her son, Justin Edgar-Murphy, 17, a junior at Bristol Central High School, would be at a disadvantage in taking the test because he is a special needs student with anxiety and ADHD.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment will replace the familiar paper-and-pencil CMT (Connecticut Mastery Test) and CAPT (Connecticut Academic Performance Test) with a computer adaptive test for English and math that is essentially a different test for each student taking it.

The test, commonly known as SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, for the group of states that developed it) stems from the Common Core State Standards, a national education initiative that seeks to bring the varied curricula taught in each state into alignment with each other.

As the Bristol Press goes on to explain,

On Jan. 23, Murphy sent an e-mail to Marisa Calvi-Rogers, BCHS assistant principal, stating that she wanted to “opt out” Justin from the SBAC.

Calvi-Rogers wrote back, saying that state statute mandates all students take the test. “By law, we will make all necessary arrangements and accommodations to test all of our 11th grade students. No provision has been made to ‘opt out’ of these tests,” she wrote.

However, Calvi-Rogers said Murphy could submit her request in writing outlining her specific reasons for Justin not taking the test.

But after contacting Wait, What? and getting some draft language for her response, Christine Murphy wrote back to Bristol’s school officials explaining that, as the Bristol newspaper put it,

 She is not legally required to give any specific reasons for her decision, but she cited ‘increased anxiety for Justin for a test that holds no weight or is needed to graduate’ and ‘Justin, at the age of 17, myself and his fully capable, educated teachers are aware of what his strengths and weakness are.’

According to the Bristol Press, “She asked that ‘the school provide him with a productive alternative activity during the test administrative and preparation sessions.’”

Bristol officials recently responded by informing Murphy that she can opt her son out of the Common Core SBAC test and that her son, “will be provided an alternate setting where he can work on homework or read silently while his classmates are testing…”

Murphy told the Bristol Press,

“I am so relieved that they are handling this in a very professional and legal manner.  This should be an inspiration to other parents who are told they cannot ‘opt out’ but with perseverance and using the word ‘refuse’ can make all the difference.”

The article, Son won’t have to take state test, concludes with,

[Murphy] said after doing some online research she decided she has also a problem with the test itself, which she characterized as kids are being told how to think out a problem.

“Everybody’s different,” she said. “You may think out a problem in a different way than I think it out, and we might still come to the same thing, but there’s not one way to think.”

“They try to tell you [the test] is going to find your strengths and weaknesses,” she continued. “Justin is 17 years old, he has one year left in high school. We know what his strengths are, we know what his weaknesses are. If we found something now, what are we going to do about it? Nothing.”

“So it’s totally ludicrous to waste this time and money that you are taking away from his classes, real classes to learn, to do this test,” she added.

Murphy didn’t want him to simply not show up for the SBAC because then he would be considered absent and have to make it up later.

Be sure to read the full Bristol Press article.  It is an important (and fun read) and it can found at: http://m.centralctcommunications.com/bristolpress/news/article_205a9486-b3e9-11e4-8c0e-d738a23065ed.html?mode=jqm

  • Guest

    Jon you left off the best part of the article.

    Murphy found the website of Jonathan Pelto, a former Democratic state legislator who is now a political advisor and communications strategist. Pelto ran as an independent write-in candidate for governor last year.

    She wrote to him on Feb. 4 for help with her situation, which she described as being “bullied” into having her son take the SBAC.

    That same day, Pelto sent his advice on how to frame her reply to “these thugs.”

    “I want to make it clear that there is no federal or state law that prohibits a parent or guardian from opting their children out of these inappropriate, unfair and discriminatory SBAC tests AND that there is no law, regulation or policy that allows the government or local school districts to punish parents or their children if the parent refuses to allow their child or children to participate in the Common Core SBAC testing program,” Pelto said.

  • buygoldandprosper

    “Justin, go sit in the corner and read something from Disney Publishing for the rest of the day, or watch this Disney video with your headphones on…”

  • Gobsmacked133

    I submitted my opt out letter Thursday evening. We shall see what happens.

  • cindy

    Parents are afraid to opt out for fear of some impact later on, or for fear of standing alone. Would you consider putting up a poll or something where people answer 3 questions. Your town, child’s grade, and will you refuse? Just a thought.