Please release House Bill 60 from the Delaware House Education Committee

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Please release House Bill 60 from the Delaware House Education Committee

This petition had 20 supporters
Petition to
State Representative Earl G. Jaques Jr and

Why this petition matters

Started by Kevin Ohlandt

I am asking for your support in the release of House Bill 60, a bill which would codify a parent's right to opt their child out of the state assessment, currently the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

This committee, albeit under slightly different membership, released a similar bill over two years ago.  Despite some fierce opposition from certain corners, the bill overwhelmingly passed in the Delaware House and Senate.  I urge this committee to once again stand up for parental rights by releasing House Bill 60.

While the subject of parental opt out of state assessments has been very quiet as of late, it has not disappeared.  Opt out does continue, but not without threats from certain schools and administrators.  An Assessment Inventory Task Force met in 2015-2016 to establish what assessments are necessary and which are not.  The Smarter Balanced Assessment came up briefly but no one aside from Rep. Sean Matthews would allow discussion for its elimination from assessments. 

Delaware public school students still spend an exorbitant amount of time not only taking the pre-assessments but also the actual Smarter Balanced Assessment.  After three years, the results still are not released in a sufficient amount of time to have any true education meaning.  While a state assessment is a federal requirement, the Smarter Balanced Assessment should be replaced which is certainly another topic.  In the meantime, some Delaware parents have bravely and honorably chosen to opt their child out of Smarter Balanced. 

An attempt at legislation concerning opt out was brought forth last year which directed former Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky to put forth some type of criteria concerning opt out.  The resulting letter did absolutely nothing as directed by the House Resolution. 

The mythical threat of federal funding cuts has never materialized in any state, despite letters of intimidation by the United States Department of Education under former Secretaries Arne Duncan and John King.  As well, Delaware eliminated their own "opt-out penalty" in the Delaware School Success Framework in their Every Student Succeeds Act state plan submission.  Instead, they chose options of having schools submit reports on how to handle higher opt out rates. 

While discussion around education funding has taken center stage during this critical time in Delaware with our massive budget deficit, let us not forget the amount of money, resources, instruction time, and frustration caused by this test.  It is past time Delaware stood up to the corporate education reform assessment juggernaut and formed their own path for true measurements of a student's perceived progress.  We have the opportunity to forge a new way of looking at things and it actually starts with this type of legislation.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


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