Parent’s View of Public Education: “if you are not opting out…you are responsible for supporting the system that you wish did not exist”
I have admired Charlie Morris (a dad) and his daughters Zoe’s fight in North Carolina to opt his daughter out of standardized testing. His recent post Op Ed: Telling It Like It Is in NC-Studying Our Options in NC-Opting Out, Teacher Tenure lays it on the line. He has come to the conclusion that many of us who have been fighting Common Core and standardized testing are beginning to realize is good advice and strategy:
…we need to change the conversation completely. Don’t talk to them (the government) at all. We simply should educate our children. And for the parents that cannot because they are working (like me), we can hopefully find a way to have things in place that support them as well.
Here are some excerpts from his blog explaining his frustration on dealing with the system and reluctance of other parents to opt their children out of standardized testing:
I have been feign to do much lately because I am unsure of how to proceed best. I truly feel that the corporations are not one, but two or three steps ahead of us in their quest to standardize all “learning”. Why? Please see “standardized packaging”. It makes it easier to deliver a product. And that is what is being sold now. Education is being sold like a product instead of a process or dare I say it…a fascinating journey. So, even as we fight what is here currently to wrestle with, they are already on to the next thing…rendering the current battle sort of as a distraction or an obfuscation to what they already have planned. I feel that as long as we do not self organize, we will always be requesting fairness from those who seek to take advantage of our collective trust that they have our best interests at heart…and they apply a system that is only fair to a certain segment of the population. I feel that the writing is on the wall here if we look around the country. The friendly requests for fairness simply do not work. What works is mass refusal and taking education (not) back…but taking it somewhere new altogether.
So, I hate to sound negative. But currently I am picking my fights a bit better and staying out of losing ones. I am sitting still and looking for the right kind of opening to present itself. I think the fight to get schools back to a good place cannot be won. Fighting the gov’t cannot be won. But organizing children completely differently and into smaller groups of decentralized learning groups…to me that feels possible and more positive. We shouldn’t fight to make the gov’t agree with us about how to educate our children. They never had the right to do so from the start. In a way, arguing with them, lends credence to their power. When you find yourself asking for your rights back…it means that you are talking to someone who took them without your permission. I say we need to change the conversation completely. Don’t talk to them at all. We simply should educate our children. And for the parents that cannot because they are working (like me), we can hopefully find a way to have things in place that support them as well. I don’t think that we can ever get the gov’t out of the current educational system. They created it. It is their system and we merely partake of it. It will never be ours. If we want education that is ours for our children, we must make our own, pulling together resources that make sense to us. The government has no role in the education of most of the wealthiest families in America. That isn’t an opinion. It is the truth. The government does not tell private schooled children how to learn or what test to take. Many have never considered that. We debate the merits of common core, assuming it is something that all children must struggle through. It isn’t. The wealthiest do not. All the things that we public school parents struggle with (testing, learning by rote, more testing, et al) is something that private schools do not have to contend with. It is only us…the working folks who cannot afford such schools who are subject to government style education. And I want to be clear that I am not saying teachers in public schools are the “government”. I feel the worst for them. I have never met a teacher who wanted what we have now in public schools. I am also not setting up a class divide argument or an us or a them. What I am saying is that if Common Core was such a valuable tool, such a wonderful democratized method of education…don’t you think that the well funded private schools all across America would be using it? Guess what? They aren’t. Case closed.
… I don’t want my daughter’s name on any sheet that indicates Profit/Loss statements and her school’s name on the top. We all deserve education that is filled with the input of students, teachers and involved parents, not a corporation, not a politician.Until then we can take steps. We can refuse-flat out-to take tests. We can refuse to allow Common Core in our schools. And to draw a line in the sand…if you are not opting out…you are responsible for supporting the system that you wish did not exist. If you want something to change, you have to do something first. So, opt out at the end of this schoolyear. Make it so my daughter isn’t the only one who is brave enough to do so here in our little town.