ODE sniffs at the law and thinks you’re stupid for opting-out

Don’t be patronizing to parents, students, and teachers. Easy enough? Yet education bureaucrats misunderstand the opt-out movement and do things that antagonize and build up the movement further.

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) was given a simple job: provide school districts with an Opt-Out FAQ and Opt-Out Notification form that is factual and unbiased. Similar to the information provided by the Albuquerque Public Schools. Now ODE has put Oregon school districts and school administrators in the unenviable position of having to intimidate, coerce, and misinform parents and students about our constitutional right to opt-out of the SBAC tests and their potential consequences. Shame on ODE for pitting parents and students against their school leaders.

Our nation has had 15 years of high-stakes testing due to No Child Left Behind and has sunk millions/billions of dollars only to prove…students in poverty do worse than other students. That’s it. Over and over again.

But these people don’t want to talk about shamefully high student poverty and inequality, they’d prefer to fund more high-stakes testing that, even if done well, will only get the same result and keep us away from fixing student poverty and inequality.

Yet ODE has messed up this simple job, and cops an attitude while doing so, claiming that it knows better than students, parents, and teachers who see high-stakes testing as the waste of time and resources that it is. Check out this from above the parent/student signature line of ODE’s new opt-out form (red ink comment is not from ODE):

ODEoptoutform

Does ODE truly have no idea how many teachers and educated parents and students object to high-stakes testing? Does ODE not sense how many administrators and testing experts are talking to each other about the harmful effects of test-and-punish approaches?

As in other states, Oregon will start to see building principals, district administrators, superintendents stepping forward about the harmful effects of high-stakes testing. School board members, teachers, specialists, parents, and students have been speaking up, and the numbers continue to grow. ODE adding that phrase above the signature is not only misleading, it’s obnoxious, and on the wrong side of history.

6 thoughts on “ODE sniffs at the law and thinks you’re stupid for opting-out

  1. Please spend OUR money on enhancing the learning environment with qualified teachers, researched curriculum, updated technology, and offering low income students the tools they need for learning. STOP spending OUR money on high stakes testing, which does not enhance the learning environment, drives excellent teachers into other professions and threatens and frightens parents into forcing their child to put everything on the line with a single yearly test. These tests are poorly designed and are NOT developmentally appropriate for our children. I am a teacher of 36 years eager to retire and advise others to avoid the profession, all because of the incredible stress that these tests put on an entire year start to finish. Requiring 8-9 year olds to type paragraphs of written responses is developmentally inappropriate, blocking out the computer lab for months each year is counterproductive to learning. Please do research on children’s social, emotional development and learning readiness before you shove another year of testing into our schools and into our faces.
    The shameful waste of money and resources on testing should be redirected into the classroom. The results of these tests should prove to you that resources are scarce in the classroom. And while you discuss this over your catered lunch, perhaps you should think of the kids whose only meal is a $1.50 government subsided meal. I could go on about the government waste that affects our classrooms because of the huge expenditure on testing, however you probably won’t even read this far into my letter. Please vote to provide our students with what they actually need.

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