Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Oregonian's Misguided Push to Restrict Parents' Rights


Oregon Save Our Schools encourages those who support a parent's right to opt his or her child out of high-stakes standardized testing to contact the Oregonian Editorial Board and let them know that testing is not providing the information and support needed, either in the classroom or in the home.  Also, contact your legislators and encourage them to support Lew Frederick's HB 2714 which supports a Parent's Right to Opt Out for any reason.  Finally, check out Opt Out resources from Oregon SOS here.

                             by Kathleen Jeskey

The Oregonian/OregonLive editorial board published this yesterday. What is truly misguided is The Oregonians defense of an attempted government takeover of our local schools from the top down. Our public schools should be democratic institutions, with elected school boards and community oversight. They should not be controlled by people from far away who do not know our children.

Lew Frederick’s bill allowing parents to opt their child out for any reason is the right thing to do. Parents have not just a right, but a responsibility, to protect their children from harm. 

If significant numbers of parents around the country, both “conservative” and “liberal”, believe these new Common Core tests are not in their children’s best interest, they should be listened to. 

When both parents and teachers are telling you something is not in the childrens best interests, its time for our lawmakers to listen. 

When respected administrators, professors and historians of education in Oregon, like Professor Yong Zhao of the University of Oregon, and across the country Joseph Rella  of New York, Stephen Krashen of California, and Diane Ravitch, former assistant Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton (to name just a few) say it, having the Oregonian mock those parents is insulting. 

Also insulting is the Oregonians insistence that these tests hold any value for evaluating teachers and schools. Principal Carol Burris disagrees. So did the Washington state legislature, which refused the federal waiver from No Child Left Behind because it required the states teachers to be evaluated based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The resulting threat from the US Department of Education to withhold federal dollars from the state again points up the overly intrusive nature of the federal government in local matters of education.

This should not even be a question. Parents should have the right to opt their child out of standardized, high stakes testing. Email your legislator, and support HB 2714, Lew Frederick’s Opt Out bill! 

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