This story caught my eye, and I wondered why a father wanted his child to opt out of standardized testing. Did he have the usual objections? I was pleasantly surprised to read the true reason near the very end of the article. (Talk about burying the lede!)
The Dumfries dad wasn’t taking a stand against the frequency of testing, the narrowing of the curriculum or the use of tests for teacher evaluations, as many are. His concern was with a new elementary math curriculum that the Prince William schools were using.
After a long protest before the school board, he took matters into his own hands and began teaching his son math a different way, at home in the evenings. His son took the math SOL in third grade and “maxed it out,” Barlow said.
But with all the extra teaching he was doing, he did not want the school to take credit for his son’s performance.
On the day of the test that they had opted out of, he gave his son an older version of the test at home . . . just to be sure he was up to standards.
And in the “I’m sure they meant well, but really didn’t think it through” department is this story about a high school in Illinois that was concerned about a rise in suicides. They came up with a survey for the students to fill out regarding risk factors. The school informed parents through an e-mail that their children could opt out, but apparently many of them were not aware of the survey – and neither were the teachers until the very morning they were to be handed out.
[Teacher John] Dryden said it was just “dumb luck” he learned about the contents. He picked up the surveys from his mailbox about 10 minutes before his first class. Seeing students’ names on them, unlike past surveys, he started reading the 34 questions.
“Oh. Well. Ummm, somebody needs to remind them they have the ability not to incriminate themselves,” he recalled thinking. It was particularly on his mind because his classes had recently finished reviewing the Bill of Rights…
“I made a judgment call. There was no time to ask anyone,” Dryden said. If the survey had been handed out a day or two before, he said, he would have talked to an administrator about his concern.
Instead, he gave the warning to his first-, second- and third-block classes.
Now he is in hot water. The school board has issued a “letter of remedy” which could lead to his dismissal. Parents and students have rallied to his defense.