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Pass House Bill 50 to Allow Parent Opt Out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment in Delaware

This petition had 445 supporters

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the new state assessment based on the Common Core State Standards for Delaware.  Many states have adopted this assessment as part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, of which Delaware is a part.  This consortium was approved by Governor Markell without any legislative approval. 

Many parents in Delaware, as well as across the country, believe the Smarter Balanced Assessment, as well as the PARCC test in other states, is not an effective standardized test.  Therefore, we are electing our Constitutional right to opt our children out of this assessment.  We believe it is a parental right to choose the best educational outcome for our children.  We also believe our children are not the property of the state.  Many of us have experienced, at a minimum, vast confusion in regards to the opt out time period, which began in earnest in February of 2015, from our Governor, our Delaware Department of Education, our schools, and several administrators from our schools. 

This legislation would help codify what is already our right, and would prevent the opted out students from adversely affecting the schools in Delaware.  As well, this would also put all the school districts and charter schools in the state on the same level playing field based on a clear and distinct law. 

The results of this assessment won't even arrive until later in the summer, yet it will be used to eventually judge our teachers and schools.  As per the Delaware Department of Education, a framework for the schools won't even be available until January of 2016.  As per House Bill 334, passed by the 147th General Assembly and signed by Governor Markell on July 1st, 2014, the state assessment shall: "be designed and operated to provide the General Assembly, the Governor, the Secretary, the State Board of Education, educational administrators, teachers, parents and the public with timely and accurate information on student achievement and educational attainments."  We do not believe the "timely and accurate information" applies to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, so we have chosen to opt out or support those who opt out of the state assessment. 

When asked by State Rep. Kim Williams if any state has received a Federal funding cut due to the participation rate of the state assessment going below the 95% threshold, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said no.  In point of fact, there was absolutely no basis in fact to Murphy's veiled threat of a $90 million Federal funding cut for education because the laws and regulations concerning the 95% threshold are for the schools to test all students, not for parents to make sure their child takes the test.  The schools and districts have no control over this.  When Rep. Williams asked Murphy what the growth model is for the Smarter Balanced Assessment is, he could give no answer because there is no developed growth model.

We are requesting the members of the Delaware House of Representatives follow the will of their constituents and pass House Bill 50.  Thank you for allowing us to express our voice with this petition.


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