Delaware Department of Education is trying to intimate parents who support opting-out state testing. @Washingtonpost @huffingtonpost #edude #netde #neatoday @NSBAComm @NatlGovsAssoc @usedgov @arneduncan @educationOIG @destateboarded @NRP @degop @greg_lavelle @dedeptofed @DariusJBrown @WDEL @delawareonline @TNJ_malbright

Parent Refusal to Student Assessment
What you need to know
The Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and careers. Delaware’s move to the Smarter Balanced assessment system replaces previous tests, offering significant improvements over assessments of the past. The Smarter assessments provide an academic checkup by measuring real-world skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. In addition, through optional formative assessments and a digital resource library and interim item bank, Smarter provides information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are succeeding and where they need help.

In Delaware, the purpose of state testing is to ensure students get the help they need to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to make the most of their talents. The Delaware Department of Education recognizes state testing as an important part of understanding how schools, districts and the state are doing in educating and preparing students for college and careers. This is the primary way we can know if we are making appropriate progress toward educating students on the academic standards. Student testing also helps districts and schools identify if there are specific populations within their school that are behind and may need extra assistance. And state testing helps parents understand how their child is doing in comparison to students in other schools.

That said, we cannot spend precious student and teacher time on assessments that do not offer this important information. The Delaware Department of Education over the past two years has eliminated some required tests and its switch this year to the Smarter assessments will reduce the number of times students take the state English language arts and mathematics assessments from up to three times a year to only one. There are no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow Delaware to have a system for parents to refuse student assessment. In addition, state and federal laws are clear that there is an expectation that all students will participate in the state assessment system. The only instances in which students can be excluded relate to exemption requests. Only two reasons are allowable for requests for exemptions: extreme medical incidents or for reasons of mental health of the child (each requires documentation from a physician).

State Code:
ESEA, Subpart 1, Subsection 1111(b)(3):

State law says this, § 173 Data reporting violations. School districts and individuals shall not: (3) Exclude a student from participation in the state assessment except in accordance with the regulations of the Department;

Make note defintion of “individuals” means this “4) ”Individual” means a student, teacher, administrator, local or state school board member, or other employee, agent or contractor employed by the Delaware public school system whether local or at the state level, and including an employee, agent or contractor of a charter school;”

Parents are not noted as “individuals” in the scope of this law. Therefore, The Delaware Secretary of Education’s posting of this memo and lies to Delaware PTA is improper and acting in bad faith in regards to parental involvement guarantee within ESEA. Furthermore, there is clear violation of Title 1 Section 1118 on the Delaware Department of Education and local school districts who approved Race to The Top, support Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment which required participation of Title 1 Parents in design and review of Title 1 programming. Title 1 parents as all parents were indoctrinated after the district and state approved Race to The Top, Common Core Standards and The Smarter Balanced Assessment. DE DOE and the districts took the NCLB Wavier and decided to disregard Section 1118 with DE DOE’s support.

There is nothing in state law that forbids parents from opting-out their children from state assessments.

I urge the Delaware PTA to address this DE DOE memo posted on DE DOE’s webpage and seek ruling from the Delaware Attorney General. As far as parents of special ed students. please demand state testing be exclude via IEP. Your child should only be held to goals within IEP.            


21 responses to “Delaware Department of Education is trying to intimate parents who support opting-out state testing. @Washingtonpost @huffingtonpost #edude #netde #neatoday @NSBAComm @NatlGovsAssoc @usedgov @arneduncan @educationOIG @destateboarded @NRP @degop @greg_lavelle @dedeptofed @DariusJBrown @WDEL @delawareonline @TNJ_malbright

  1. Reblogged this on Exceptional Delaware and commented:
    I don’t care what they say. Unless they say legally “Your son must take the Smarter Balanced Assessment”, then he will never take it. All parents in Delaware should do the same. If you live in Capital School District, their board already voted on not penalizing students for opting out of the test. The DE DOE and Mark Murphy are hardly folks parents should trust in telling you what’s right and wrong for your child.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lastDEconservative

    Ahh, a little glimpse into What’s Really Going On, chapter 5, These Are Our Kids, subsection C, Who Decides What They Do.

    I suggest any and every parent with a grain, one lousy grain of discernment in their body to offer Curly and the Coach a hearty “Kiss my Ass,” and cite one of many Biblical trumps to this Big Brother atrocity. Or, just say No if you obediently threw out your Bibles when you were directed.

    How dare they?

    Because they can. Just keep sitting there, bobbleheads, drooling on yourselves. Succumbing to threats. Threats! This is incredible, even to a student of the evil within. Are you parents really this stupid? Brainwashed? THOSE ARE YOUR CHILDREN, NOT FODDER FOR THE CAPITAL S STATE’S’ EXPERIMENTATION.


  3. What about people who “opt out” of the schools they are assigned to? (aka, Choice) Same thing?


  4. What is preventing the state from making these tests a graduation requirement?


  5. Do we know yet what DOE does when families opt out of standardized tests? This memo (which I received at the state PTA convention where the issue was discussed last weekend) is bluster.

    What happens when parents exempt their children from state vaccination reqs, such as for religious reasons? Is the state able to strip those children of their rights to a publicly funded education? Those court rulings would be a place to start, in understanding how courts have actually demarcated the rights of parents vs. states in determining what ed.-related policies families must comply with. Unvaccinated children arguably pose a public health risk to their classmates–so whatever court findings have been in those cases, parental rights to determine what is in the best interest of their children would be weighed more heavily in the case of testing opt-out, which poses no physical threat to other kids. (I understand that the religious elements of the vaccination ex. make these not entirely parallel cases–but I suspect those rulings are relevant to what a court would determine in cases regardng testng.)

    Once one DE family takes this issue to court, after being pressured by DOE or a district to submit to the tests (such as by beng deprived of some public ed. options due to their opt-out decision), we’ll get a clearer statement from the courts as to the limits of DOE’s authority regarding testing reqs. I suspect it is quite limited, much more than this memo might lead parents to believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I opted my son out in a very public forum, a letter to the editor in the Delaware State News. I have not heard one thing from the Delaware DOE in regards to this.


  7. If these tests are a summative measure of whether or not the student has mastered what is taught, then here is a proposal: Graduates who take and pass the tetsts receive an achievement degree. We could even distringuish them by extent of mastery (“with honors”, “with distinction”, and yes a “valedictory” degree for the top ten in each school. Graduates who opt out of these tests receive a social degree.

    So, a student can opt out all the way to then end of high school. But to graduate with an acheivement degree, tests are required.


    • lastDEconservative

      The supposed real world validity of any award granted by the capital S State -based on standards it sets for itself- is another manifestation of the general ignorance of the general populace. In my humble opinion. I’d just as soon award their accomplishments with a presumptive degree based on a catwalk stroll past Publius, you know, a “cut of the jib” diploma. Posture, how one carry’s oneself, eye contact, all that betrays one’s future quite well. A piece of paper from Curly and the Coach, well, you decide.


  8. Is any test acceptable? (IEP) excluded.


  9. Are those of you who are against the Smarter Balanced test against all standardized testing? Do you not think these tests give any kind of insight into where your child is academically? I have three teenage boys, all with different strengths and different weaknesses. I have looked closely at the results of all three boys scores for every standardized test they have ever taken, from DSTP, DCAS, Terra Nova, MAP, and whatever else they have taken.
    They might not have all been true to exactly where I thought they were, but most were pretty close (with the exception of DSTP- horribly off, scoring them much higher than where I thought they should be).
    I don’t think that test scores should be something that we base everything on, but don’t you think they have a place? A piece to the puzzle of your child’s strengths and weaknesses? I know that some kids might have test anxiety or other similar issues that could affect their score, but that is something you would want to find out to, another piece to their puzzle.
    In saying all of this, I am not referring to IEP students, simply because I do not know anything about IEP’s. But I would think that, if the I in IEP stands for individualized (it does, right?) that a test could/should be individualized for him/her or that they could/should be easily exempt.


    • Pmom, I see two probs with the current standardized testing mania (which seems quite different from when I/we were in school & took Iowa tests or similar for a week every few years). First, I’m sure the DOE does not have the legal authority to force students to take the tests if their parents have a reasonable objection, such as anxiety issues. The DOE seems to be trying to convince parents who ask that they do have that power, and I hope most parents recognize that they are bluffing. Courts will usually side with parents if there is any reasonable question about what is in a child’s best interest, and plenty of Ed. professionals could be brought forward to testify that high-pressure testing poses serious concerns–a judge would then be likely to leave the matter up to parental discretion, which courts typically defend.

      Watching my first grader in a CSD school, I would say my one concern with the testing emphasis so far is its constraints on teachers’ ability to respond to the needs or interests of their students. For my child, common core math seems to work well & is far more sophisticated than my early math curriculum. Writing, however, seems needlessly constrained for that age group–every assignment has a number of parameters, and in my view these suck the enjoyment out of writing for kids who are just beginning to exercise that skill. I asked his teacher recently whether there would be any free-form or creative writing, and she said she would love to do that (and thinks it’s really motivating and impt. for kids this age) but has not yet been able to figure out a way to fit it in to the new curriculum. That kind of situation seems absurd, to me, and I *think* it stems from the constraints imposed on teachers by the more heavy-handed standardized testing regime, and the pressure they feel to get students’ scores up. (My sons’ K teacher is nearing retirement and seemed more flexible about incorporating new Common Core curriculum into what she already viewed as K-appropriate learning.) Not all worthwhile skills are easily standardized, and teachers should have the freedom to encourage student development well beyond what a standardized test can measure. At this juncture, I think many younger teachers don’t believe that they have such freedom, or would be supported if they tried to exercise it.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Also, not that any of you care about my opinion :), but of all the tests my boys have taken, the one most helpful was the MAP test, with results truly helping his teacher and I when it came to his reading tutoring, guiding us to what he needed to do to be reading on level. There is a place, maybe not for the few of you, but for my family and I’m sure others, for standardized testing.


    • I’m fine with tests. My problem lies with how they’re used. These tests have become punishments rather than tools to improve a child’s education.

      I have made this point many times: We are using the tests in the wrong way. Kids that pass the test – that’s great, now let’s move on. Kids that don’t pass the test – let’s address that with additional resources. Schools that pass – awesome. School’s that don’t – let’s focus on them.

      Here’s an example where we have the data (-; but aren’t using it to benefit children. All we use these tests for is to slap a label on a child or a school.

      This is what’s so infuriating about the Priority Schools – What’s infuriating is that we begin these discussions pretending we’ve actually tried to help these schools. We haven’t, and the State and Districts are both guilty of this. It isn’t as if the State and District are saying, “Hey, we tried smaller class sizes, putting more teachers in the schools, implemented equitable funding, added resources like wellness centers, school psychologists and put back programs such as TAG, Technology, Reading/Math specialists, Arts, etc. and these schools are still struggling so now we need to try something different.” They can’t say that because they never did that.

      Everyone lives or dies by The Test. Well… not everyone – only students and teachers. What if we tied administration (district, DDOE AND politicians) pay to test results? These people’s pay would drop 20% for every “failing” school. (I think I’m onto something here!) Bet we’d see a flood of resources and effort pouring into these schools. Yeah, I’m liking this idea.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with all that you said.
      I did think they used the scores for one positive thing. Don’t you have to score above a certain score to pass to the next grade? Which I don’t agree with in full as the student might have taken the test with a headache or has test anxiety or just filled in the blanks without trying, but it could be used as a red flag to further look into where a particular student is. Do the scores at least do that now, or no?


    • No Black Friday shopping Pandora? I used to do it but don’t anymore. I like sleeping in more than I like shopping. I am missing the adrenaline rush right now though. 🙂


    • Obviously, with my son being special needs, I have numerous problems with these tests. But everything about the recent ones has been tied into money for investors and wall street stock brokers and hedge fund managers. I don’t pay tax dollars so the 1% can get even richer. And then they get the tax breaks? Hell no! Nothing about education is about the kids anymore. Don’t let them fool you Pencadermom! The only ones who give a crap are parents like us, the true educators (not these TFA/Relay fast-track people), and I would say about 10-20% of the legislators.


    • Is that different than the old ones? Like the ones I took as a kid? Is that how they were too?


    • Did Pandora get trampled in the Neiman Marcus doorway? 😛


    • LOL! No Black Friday shopping for me. I can’t even imagine dealing with all that chaos. We had relatives arrive yesterday afternoon, so I was busy cooking (again!) not shopping.


  11. Pandora is onto something.

    It’s high time we demand that this DDOE accountability rubric be shared across the policy spectrum and tied to pay for the deciders as well as the doers.

    Kids who lack academic and/or emotional mentorship at home need direct mentoring at school to get them to acceptable performance levels.


  12. I’m fine with tests. My problem lies with how they’re used. These tests have become punishments rather than tools to improve a child’s education.


    Sadly, for me, the MISUSE is so bad it is drawing me to the position of standardized test elimination, as the only countermeasure likely to eliminate the misuse.