"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, October 10, 2014

Opt Out Letters from Albuquerque

From KOB:
Created: 10/03/2014 5:56 PM
By: Stephanie Claytor, KOB Eyewitness News 4
More and more parents of APS students are joining forces with teachers.  They've had it with standardized testing, and many are not making their children take the tests.  These parents are using social media to get the word out that your child doesn't have to take the tests.

Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education member Kathy Korte is leading the map, circulating a form letter on the “Stand4NMkids Facebook Page, hoping more parents will opt their kids out of standardized testing.

“We know that these tests are part of an evaluation for a teacher, and it’s part of an evaluation for schools,” said Korte.

“You need to do what’s right for your kids. If you don't think that it’s right your kids are spending four to six weeks between March and May testing, then opt them out because that's your right as a parent.”

According to APS Spokesperson Rigo Chavez, last school year, 200 to 300 high school opted out of exams. In order for them to opt out, parents have to fill out a form or write a letter, and turn it into the district.

“We have 89,000 students in APS and I hope 89,000 students parents tell the state and tell our district this is not what we want for our kids’ education,” said Korte.

But there are some consequences for high school students opting out.

"We're telling parents, and we posted it on our Facebook page, there are some tests that don’t mean anything to a diploma. There are others that do,” Korte said.

Rigo Chavez said the opt out forms have always been available on the district's website. He said the form letter circulated last year, but didn't generate a sizable amount of parents who actually turned it into the district.

District testing information: http://www.aps.edu/schools/testing/documents/assessments-by-grades-2014-15

Here’s the form letter that’s circulating:

Dear (Principal) and (Teachers' names),

I have chosen to opt-out my child from most standardized testing this year. The appropriate papers have been filed with APS.
They will Opt-Out of:


Science SBA
EOC Art & Music 

It is my understanding that you, our teachers, may use the District Formative Assessment (Math & Reading/Language Arts) as a tool for better understanding my child's needs and to help you evaluate them, and so I will allow this testing. However, feel free to message me if this test is of no value to you at all.

I truly believe that these test scores are being used against you (our teachers) in an unfair and punitive way resulting in inaccurate teacher evaluations. I also believe that my child is being used to make testing companies rich at the expense of her love for learning and school.

Last spring at the end of all of this excessive over-testing, my child was completely BURNED OUT and no longer wanted to attend school. This made me incredibly sad because they truly LOVE their school and they loved their teachers.

As their parent, it is my duty to send to you a student who is willing and able to attend class and give you 100% of their attention for the few minutes you are now given to actually "teach" them and not test them. Therefore, I am taking standardized testing out the equation. In addition, I have about a million other reasons why I'm against these "reforms".

This school year I will be writing a positive letter for each of your PED files/evaluations. I am more than happy to call attention to what you are doing to help my child become a successful student.

I THANK each and every one of you for your time and dedication to my child. I believe their education is a partnership between you and our family. They love coming to school and you are the reason for their happiness. Thank you!


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