Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Testing the limits: Do your children belong to you or the state?

March 11, 2015 by Steve Mac Donald

Does the state own your children?  That’s the question being asked as parents, activists, school board members, and legislators wrestle with new state-wide testing in New Hampshire.

Smarter Balanced assessments have been embraced by the education establishment in the state.  With the testing window about to open, a debate has erupted around whether parents can keep their children from participating.

Why wouldn’t a parent want their child to take these tests?  Public schools, at the urging of the Federal government, are using them to compile data about kids at every opportunity, and whenever possible without consent [2].

“It’s absolute abuse of the trust we’ve put in our state and its schools, as now schools are forced to act as agents for state data collection without parental consent [3], through the use of many resources, including [4]…the housing of data in the State Longitudinal Databases (SLDS) [5]that the federal government paid every state to build, for the purpose ofreporting the K-12 data to the federal government.” [6]

The parents who ask questions–expressing concerns about data breaches–are routinely ignored: what is being done with this data in a world where such breaches are common? Such parents are often accused of being brainwashed or overreacting, or are labeled by the education establishment as an extremist and intimidated into silence in ways that would violate most district bullying policies.

But resistance is not futile.

In anticipation of the growing problem of parents rights, legislators in New Hampshire have been working on a bill to address the concerns.  HB603 [7] would require every public school districts to institute a policy that would accommodate a parent or legal guardian who wished to exempt their child from any assessment, questionnaire, survey, or objectionable material.

The bill is expected to be voted on by the New Hampshire House Wednesday after leaving the education committee last week with its nod of approval.

It would seem that the tide is turning toward parents, but not so fast.

New Hampshire Education Commissioner Virginia Barry is having none of it.  In mid-February, a letter from the commissioner was widely distributed [8] throughout the activist community in which she declared the following:

“…parents have no legal right to opt their children out, and so long as a student is in attendance at the school, they must report to their assigned classroom to take the assigned assessment, notwithstanding any objections or ultimatums by parents.  Parents should be made aware that their public school children are legally required to take the assessment.  Further, the districts legal obligations must supersede parental demands that their child not take the assessment.”

Commissioner Barry is one of those ‘It takes a village’ people who are probably proud to claim a pedigree as far back as Hillary Clinton’s authorship.  But that political lineage reaches back past Dewey to the germination of Socialist and Marxist thought.  These ideologies were all committed to the idea that children must be separated from their parents to be properly educated, by which they mean indoctrinated by the state.

So when the State’s commissioner of education claims that “the districts legal obligations must supersede parent’s demands” everyone, not just parents, should feel a chill.

Fortunately for parents, some school boards know on which side their bread is buttered.  Virginia Barry does not have to run for election, but they must, so some accommodations are in order[9]:

Letters are expected to go out to parents as soon as this week notifying them of the upcoming Smarter Balanced assessment and explaining how they can pull their children from the controversial test if so desired.

The letter was drafted in response to concerns raised by parents and activists opposed to the Smarter Balanced test and, more broadly, the Common Core education standards on which it is based. Opponents have argued the test and standards are part of a federal education agenda and violate the principle of local control.

State education officials have informed the district they lack the legal authority to allow students to opt out, but a Manchester, New Hampshire Law firm has also announced that it will help parents if they get push back for exercising their rights.

Parents still have the right to keep a child home on assessment days.  They can choose to send them to a charter or private school, or to home school. Such options, with consistently equal or better outcomes,. are all choices the educrats would see abolished.

Why?

To them the control is more important than the education.  They intend to “own” your children, or at least their minds; they just can’t say that to your face.

original article: Testing the limits: Do your children belong to you or the state?

bullies, bureaucracy, children, education, extremism, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, politics, progressive, public policy, reform, scandal, socialism

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Filed under: bullies, bureaucracy, children, education, extremism, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, politics, progressive, public policy, reform, scandal, socialism

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