Sign the Petition Supporting the Override of Delaware HB50 Veto – Opt Out Bill

Please take a minute to sign the petition, I signed it and I hope you will as well.

Sign the petition to override Delaware House Bill 50 Veto.

The below was taken from the Delaware PTA Petition page.

It is a parent’s fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children!

HB 50 was legislation sponsored by Rep John Kowalko which provided a consistent process to allow Delaware parents to opt their child(ren) out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment without fear of punishment or reprisal from district and school administration. The Bill also required meaningful academic instruction for those students not participating in the test. In its simplest form, HB 50 would secure a parent’s right to opt their child(ren) out of the assessment if they believe it is in the best interest of their child. The Bill acknowledged the parent’s right to protect their child from unnecessary and harmful tests. At its core, HB 50 was proposed legislation that would place students first.

With an overwhelming majority (86% in the House and 71% in the Senate), the bill passed at the end of June. Yet, despite the vote of the General Assembly and the strong public support expressed for HB 50 by educators through DSEA, parents and families, the state PTA, and school administrations the Governor vetoed this bill.

HB 50 was, and is, not about one specific test – the Smarter Balanced Assessment, despite what opponents would suggest.  Supporters of the bill are not suggesting or encouraging parents to opt out of state assessments, whether it’s the SBA or another assessment.  Rather, we believe this is the right of the family and a decision that should be left in the capable hands of parents to decide what is best for their children.

Delaware PTA, as well as the majority of HB 50 supporters, is not, and never has been anti-assessment. We support standardized tests, if they are limited, developmentally appropriate and provide useful instructional feedback. The Smarter Balanced Assessment does none of this. Assessments, regardless of which one is used, have to be judged against their intended uses. The SBAC was not designed to meet the needs of students and teachers; it was designed to meet the needs of the state, to allow state level and inter-consortia comparisons of student performance. For years parents and teachers were led to believe that No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top initiatives would help identify at risk students and schools, allowing state officials to direct resources and supports to our most neediest schools in an attempt to reduce the achievement gap. In fact, all that has happened under these initiatives were attempts to label, punish and close our schools. Yet, we are to believe that the new Smarter Balanced Assessments will do more than prior assessments and initiatives, and that the Smarter Balanced Assessments are necessary to reduce the achievement gap.

However, regardless of our beliefs about the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the issue at hand is the parent’s right. Current state code does not contain any language that prohibits the parent/guardians from opting their student out of the state assessment. Many school and district officials have already confirmed that they cannot and will not force a student to participate in the assessment. HB 50 simply codifies this – ensuring that the decision maintains the parent’s.

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