STOP THE PRESSES – Juniors at Bridgeport’s Fairchild Wheeler High School face outrageous abuse for opting out of SBAC.

Breaking news out of Bridgeport is that Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz has intervened and juniors at Bridgeport’ts Fairchild Wheeler High School WILL NOT BE PUNISHED FOR OPTING OUT OF THE COMMON CORE TEST.

Bridgeport’s Fairchild Wheeler High School is a made up of a series of interdistrict science magnet schools including the Information Technology and Software Engineering High School, the Zoological Science, Research and Biotechnology High School and the Physical Sciences, Engineering and Aerospace/Hydrospace Science High School.   Led by principals Victor Black, Michael Watson and Jay Lipp, the school’s website notes that, “This hi-tech school, which in itself will be a teaching and learning tool for students and staff, will offer a 21st century STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) project-based curriculum.” 

However, the website fails to mention that school administrators are engaging in what may very well be the most inappropriate, egregious and abusive tactic that any public school is using against students who have been opted out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core testing program.

For months, some school administrators, as directed by Governor Malloy’s State Department of Education, have been misleading and lying to parents about their right to opt their children out of the Common Core SBAC test and harassing students and parents who have decided to protect their children from these destructive tests.

As reported here at Wait, What? some school districts have lied to parents by claiming that it is “illegal” for students to opt out of the Common Core SBAC Testing.  Other school districts have falsely informed high school juniors that they would not be able to graduate if they failed to take or were opted out of the Common Core SBAC test.  And some school administrators have even sought to punish and bully students (and parents) by requiring students who have been opted out of the Common Core SBAC test to remain in the testing rooms despite the fact that the “sit and stay” punishment tactic violates the written protocol of the SBAC Testing Manual.

But, according to multiple sources, the school administrators at the magnet schools located at Bridgeport’s Fairchild Wheeler High School campus are engaging in a truly extraordinary and abusive tactic in an effort to punish high school juniors attending that magnet school.

Late last week, with the SBAC today – Monday, May, 4, 2105 – the school principals started informing high school juniors that any student who opted out of the Common Core SBAC test could not use that time to do their regular school work or prepare for the remaining tests that would actually get them into the college of their choice, but that opted out students would be assigned a major writing assignment, that the assignment would serve as a significant grade for this semester, that the grade they received would be applied to EVERY class they are taking this term and that part of the writing assignment will have to be completed in the foreign language that the student is taking this year.

The notion of punishing children who have been opted out of the Common Core SBAC test violates the most basic responsibilities of a school administrator.

Implementing a punishment specifically designed to jeopardize a high school junior’s ability to successfully get into college is immoral, unethical and reprehensible.

The Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools and Bridgeport Board of Education must take immediately steps to prevent school administrators at the Fairchild Wheeler High School campus from punishing these high school juniors and investigate whether administrative action should be taken against the administrators or, at the very least, whether they need some significant professional development assistance.

Both Bridgeport’s superintendent and Board of Education, along with superintendents and boards of education across the state know the facts; 

FACT:  Despite the claims being made by Governor Malloy’s administration, parents have a fundamental, inalienable and constitutionally protected right to opt their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test.

FACT:  There is not federal or state law, regulation or policy that allows the state or school district to punish a child (or parent) that opts their child out of the Common Core SBAC testing.

FACT:  The code of professional responsibility for school administrators is a legal document, part of the regulations administrators must meet and adhere to in order to get and retain their administrative certification.  That code includes the requirement that: 

RESPONSIBILITY TO THE STUDENTS;

(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… 

RESPONSIBILITY TO THE STUDENT’S FAMILY;

(1) Respect the dignity of each family, its culture, customs and beliefs; (2) Promote and maintain appropriate, ongoing and timely written and oral communications with the family; (3) Respond in a timely fashion to families’ concerns; (4) Consider the family’s perspective on issues involving its children; (5) Encourage participation of the family in the educational process…

School administrators have absolutely no right or authority to punish students who have been opted out of the Common Core SBAC tests.  By engaging in this bullying and abuse, the administrators from the Bridgeport School System are not only acting inappropriately but are violating their code of professional responsibility.

If there are parents or students out there who know more about this breaking story – please add your comments to this blog post or send them in to [email protected].

It is critically important that Bridgeport’s superintendent and the City’s Board of Education understand what is transpiring at one of their high schools and take immediate steps to put an end to this incredible abuse and harassment.

  • CTPROF

    Looks like someone is BEGGING for a lawsuit.

  • Longtime Educator

    The stress that the authentic teachers at FW are feeling as a result of the lies and bullying by the administrators is also lawsuit in the making. Maybe School Governance or the Parent Teachers Association will take a look at the situation and its ramifications and bring it to the Superintendent’s attention. . . or to one of her motley assistants or better yet, to a civil rights attorney. or

  • Martin Walsh

    If CEA and AFT had been on top of the situation and addressed the invalidity and pernicious nature of this test from the beginning of this year, students and their parents could have been spared a lot of pain. The way to stop this nonsense is with numbers. Had more parents been aware of the invalidity of this test, Connecticut could have joined with NY, NJ and MA as a leader in the opt out movement. We have lost a year through lack of leadership. It’s past time to fight back.

  • cindy

    I’m ready. Just found out now even more time will be dedicated to some performance task during the school day. We pay taxes for our teachers/schools to work for us, not test companies, not the governor, not faceless research entities. Where can I sign up? Let’s not wait until we crash/burn like NY.

    https://stopcommoncorenys.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/new-york-parents-demand-an-independent-investigation-of-common-core-tests/

  • Monica

    Punitive measures against the very population that administrators love to claim that they serve is heinous. What’s more, using a writing assignment as punishment is counter-productive. Just plain stupid, really.

  • Linda174
  • HistoryTeacher

    No where in the Constitution are the people of the United States guaranteed the right to an Education. Free Public Education began to educate the people so they would become informed citizens to be able to vote and run the government. How Education/Public Schools are run is left in the hands of the State not the Federal government. With that being said, if more parents and people were aware of the law they would know that neither the state nor the federal government can force anyone to take the test or punish them for not taking the test. Well informed citizens would know their rights and take action against unjust actions – as is guaranteed in the Constitution.