Just when it seemed that Governor Dannel Malloy’s arrogance and bullying couldn’t get any worse, Connecticut school officials have been told to instruct parents that they may not opt their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium Assessment (SBAC) or NEW SAT testing schemes. The Malloy administration has said that if students aren’t forced to take these tests, local school districts will lose their Title 1 education funding.
Despite the fact that there is no law, regulation or legal policy that prevents parents from opting their children out of the destructive testing mania, school superintendents and principals have been directed to do everything they can to prevent parents from standing up to protect their children.
The latest example of the Malloy administration’s campaign of intimidation and abuse comes from North Haven, where the superintendent of schools wrote to parents telling them that their children must take the Common Core tests.
Covering the development, the North Haven Citizen newspaper wrote;
Opting out of standardized tests is a popular experience for public school students and many North Haven students did just that when it came time to take the new SBAC test last year.
But North Haven Superintendent of Schools Robert Cronin encouraged parents to direct their children to take the test this year, making it the subject of his December letter to parents.
“In the past we honored opt outs because the test was in its infancy and still being developed. But it is developed now and we’re administering it this year and my job is to carry out state statutes.”
The key statute Cronin is following is the agreement to test 95 percent of students in affiliation with the federal No Child Left Behind law. While there are no state or federal laws that direct a student to take a standardized test, the town may lose state funding if students opt out.
“Our participation is monitored closely by the state Department of Education,” Cronin said. “There will be consequences for districts that don’t meet the participation rates and we could lose Title I funding that is currently over $300,000.”
North Haven’s Superintendent, Dr. Cronin, is correct about the approach that Governor Malloy’s administration is taking.
In an effort prevent parents from opting their children out of the Common Core tests, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education sent a memo to all school superintendents informing them that their school districts would loss some or all of their Title I money if they did not force 95 percent of their students to take the SBAC and SAT tests.
Title 1 is a federal grant that provides state governments with extra funds to give to local school districts to help pay for programs targeted at helping poor children do better in school. The funding system was initially passed as part of President Johnson’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
According to the most recent data available, the United States Department of Education adds;
“…more than 56,000 public schools across the country used Title I funds to provide additional academic support and learning opportunities to help low-achieving children master challenging curricula and meet state standards in core academic subjects. For example, funds support extra instruction in reading and mathematics, as well as special preschool, after-school, and summer programs to extend and reinforce the regular school curriculum.
That same year Title I served more than 21 million children. Of these students, approximately 59 percent were in kindergarten through fifth grade, 21 percent in grades 6-8, 17 percent in grades 9-12…”
Faced with the growing opposition to the Common Core testing scam that unfairly labels children as failures and is to be used to inappropriately assess teachers as part of Malloy’s teacher evaluation system, many parents are rightfully refusing to allow their children to participate in the Common Core testing farce.
In response, Governor Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and their administration are ordering school districts to force students to take the tests or else…
Or else Malloy’s Commissioner and his political appointees of the State Board of Education will cut the funding that school districts are required to use for, “additional academic support and learning opportunities to help low-achieving children master challenging curricula and meet state standards in core academic subjects. For example, their could be cuts to funds that support extra instruction in reading and mathematics, as well as special preschool, after-school, and summer programs to extend and reinforce the regular school curriculum.
It is unbelievable, but true!
Add this one to the growing list of reasons that more and more Americans have lost faith in their government officials…
Meanwhile, as the North Haven Citizen reports, school officials in the North Haven schools will be doing all they can to push students to take the Common Core SBAC and SAT tests. As one North Haven principal explains;
“We’ll also offer incentives for completing the test, such as classroom awards or extended lunch times. We’re changing the overall environment for the test”
As for me up here in northeastern, Connecticut – “My daughter will not be taking the “state mandated” NEW SAT on March 2nd 2016.”
For more on the opt-out issue see the following Wait, What? blog posts;