keep calm and refuse
What happens when your child “goes Gandhi” and opts out of Common Core assessments? It upsets the system and the system retaliates.

From the Blue Hat Movement on what happened when Zoe, a straight “A” student, opted out of her standardized Common Core assessments in North Carolina:


Zoe’s EOG Scores!…the results are in

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Sorry to be so brief in this posting.  Like many of our readers I am a full time worker and a parent.  Days are long and I am typing this out at 12:15 AM.  I wanted to type out the whole story about the end result of Zoe refusing to take the EOG’s last year and how it affected things….but the following letter I just wrote should fill in most of the details.

I wrote the following letter to Tammy Howard, NCDPI’s Director of Accountability Services today….

Good morning Ms. Tammy Howard,

My daughter, Zoe Morris, opted out of the EOG’s for the 2013 school year at McDougle Middle School in Orange County.  To my knowledge she was the only student to actually do so in her district.
I had notified Nelson, the county testing coordinator months prior to this.  I did so to make sure that there would be no issues regarding what our rights were.  In the end, my daughter…who is a straight A student, was booted off of campus and we were told we were breaking the law.  I do not need to recount this all really…we both know how it played out.  The short version is that Zoe never took the test.
So I was quite surprised to discover the letter that came home regarding the NC Ready Student Report for School Year ending 2013.  According to this report Zoe took the test and scored a “1″ for Reading and Mathematics.  Zoe is currently a straight A student who has been invited to take the SAT towards involvement in the Duke Talent Identification Program.
What I want to know from you is how your policy of running an untaken test as if it was taken supports what schools are about…education.   As you know, a score of “1″ indicates a “limited command” in the subject areas of Math and Reading.
The ironic part of this though illustrates exactly why we are against how Common Core testing is being applied to students.  These tests cannot measure how well a student learns.  They will  never measure how well a teacher teaches her students.  Even if a student took the test and scored a 2 or a 3…it is no more indicative of their value than this falsified “1″ is for my daughter.
I am not the typical hothead, nor a fanatic.  I just am a parent who is supporting his daughter in her repulsion for the Common Core, from top to bottom.  And yes, I do share her feelings.  I do not see a lot of good solutions here at the present moment, not for fans of the CCSS nor for the opponents.  It is all quite a mess at the moment and the tenure situation isn’t helping much either.
I do what I can though.  And what I can do is support my daughter in refusing to participate in agendas that she is ethically against.
I can also try to get straight answers out of adults who are meant to be held to a higher standard, especially when they are meant to be responsible as role models for students.  My daughter read this NC Ready report right along with me and realized the same thing I did.  This test result is completely false and only shows how testing is flawed when a student who did not take the test, still was graded as if they did.
My questions are as follows:
  • who made the decision to run the test as if it was taken…is this policy?
  • is there no testing provision yet made to illustrate “refused to take test”?
  • who in our state is the person who literally made the law that says every child must be tested?
  • now that my daughter was given a “1″, in error, how will this mistake be repaired on her record?
  • she is not taking the test again this year…what will happen then?  Will it be given a “1″ again?
Thank you,
Charlie and Zoe
The Blue Hat Movement
How will this “1” be indicated on Zoe’s data set?  Should there be an asterisk on her score that she opted out of the test?  The “1” does not reflect Zoe’s knowledge.  It may reflect her resistance to the standardized testing, but it is not an accurate measure of her knowledge.  As her father states,
These tests cannot measure how well a student learns.  They will  never measure how well a teacher teaches her students.  Even if a student took the test and scored a 2 or a 3…it is no more indicative of their value than this falsified “1″ is for my daughter.
As we wrote previously about opting out (perhaps Zoe should have refused the test which is supposed to be permissible?), the goal of the standardized test is not to test the child’s knowledge, it is to measure how well the collective performs:

What do you call it when the school (the State) supersedes the wishes of the parents (the individuals who are paying for the system and providing the students for the system) and the government threatens the individuals for not adhering to statutes that very well could be misinterpreted by the State for its benefit?  For some reason, I don’t think the Common Core assessments and the implied threats of forced compliance are advancing the goals of liberty and freedom and ultimately, an education plan designed for individual students to determine their paths in life.

If the goal of the State is to test to a particular guaranteed outcome, the goal itself requires your children’s participation to determine if that goal has been met.  Common Core does not set an individual goal for your student, it is a set of common goals set by private organizations funded by Federal dollars.  Your child’s participation is necessary for the collective good, not for the good of your student as an individual.

Zoe has been caught in the collective net of benchmarks the school believes it must meet to keep receiving Federal money and possibly accreditation.  That’s how it works in Missouri and other states.  The schools are not interested in your students as individuals.  They are just data sets in a common system.  They are just “return on investments”.   The system cannot tolerate rogue behavior and opting as this would render skewed data.
Is this what will happen when the individual student opts out or refuses to participate in all the system requires, even as the testing requirement may not be statutorily enforceable?  Are parents beginning to understand that the schools are bullying their children and parents to protect the system?  When the system denies a person liberty and freedom to make their own educational decisions, is it time to either destroy or reform the system?
The educational reformers, not parents or taxpayers, have decided this is how the system should operate.  The people who are actually paying for the system and providing the children for the system need to reform this current model as it does not serve their individual needs or accurately reflects the academic measure of individual students.  When the system designates a student as a “1” because she refuses to participate in a test that exists only for the measure of a system and not the student, that is a seriously flawed system and it must be abolished.

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