I am a parent of two DE public school children, I am a former DE PTA president, a former Red Clay school board member, I am currently a DE State Representative and Vice Chair of the House Education Committee. I found this article to be quite interesting. The writers of this piece truly do not understand what is going on here in Delaware regarding the current state assessment and the ignored and meaningless data that is produced from it.
The Washington Post article states that opting out “undermines the collection of the needed data.” I find that sentence just fascinating! I wonder if the authors of this piece understand that the needed data comes after the student has moved on to the next grade level. The needed data arrived in the mail addressed to the parent after their child moved on to the next grade or moved up to another school. If the parent had questions about the needed data, who should the parent talk to -the student’s new teacher who just started teaching the student or last year’s teacher who is teaching new students? Do the writers understand that this test which produces the needed data does not measure growth?
In the article Governor Markell states, “Assessments are an important tool for teachers and families to have.” I would agree, if these assessments were a useful tool. If the assessment gave meaningful data to a teacher immediately on individually students, I would agree. My question to the writers, how is this a useful tool if the test comes seven months later, after the student has been promoted to the next grade? What are we learning from this needed data? Is the state developing educational programs from this needed data or are we just going to continue to label schools with this needed data? Are we going to continue to tell communities that your school is failing with this needed data? Are we going to tell these communities that we are going to continue to collect the needed data for another 20 years ignoring what we already know that we do not properly fund what the needed data has been telling us for years -that there is no funding for ELL students, we do not fund Basic Special Education Kindergarten through 3rd grade, and that we have been ignoring poverty since the needed data has been collected? So why would anyone continue to support this state assessment when the needed data has been screaming at us for years what our state needs? These are the questions these folks from The Washington Post should have asked the Governor instead of telling Delaware parents it is not ok to opt out!