Shanon Dahlstrom 0

Tell the Massachusetts DESE to Stop Abusive Refusal Tactics

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We, the undersigned, demand the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) immediately notify all school districts in Massachusetts that test refusals submitted by parents and guardians should be accepted. Upon receipt of a parent’s refusal letter, no child will have to individually refuse the test once the parent has notified the school of their decision to refuse the test. During the test time the child will be provided with an alternative educational activity. At no time, should the child have to refuse the test on their own.

We call on school committee members, school administrators, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Governor to joins us and require that DESE immediately stop intimidating school administrators and parents with the inexcusable action of having our children refuse the test on their own. No child should ever be put in the position that they may not completely understand and feel torn between obeying their parents or listening to their teacher or principal. DESE’s position on this issue is shameful and concerning.

Our reasons for refusing the test on behalf of our children are based on informed and well-founded concerns with over-testing in our schools, use of new, unproven tests (PARCC), immense instructional time lost to test prep, data collection, excessive technological requirements for testing, developmentally inappropriate test questions, increases in test anxiety of children and implying the worth of our teachers can be boiled down to one test score.

We believe this petition is necessary based on the reprehensible actions recently taken by DESE stating that our children, as young as eight years old and who are unfamiliar with education policy, will have to refuse the test on their own. We are extremely dissatisfied with the current leadership of DESE, including Mitchell Chester and Bob Lee. Our children are minors and we are their parents. We regret that DESE has made this critical error in judgment and has decided to become an adversary of parents instead of working together. We will not back down from this position.

We demand DESE publicly acknowledge parents’ rights to refuse the test for their child and not place children in the position of having to refuse.

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