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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Parents: Your children belong to You, Not NEW YORK STATE

Concerned was contacted by a citizen and parent who attended the Hamburg Bored of Education budget workshop on April 9, 2013.  
This parent's anger came through loud and clear.  
First, the parent was appalled at the detailed discussion of special education placements. 
In particular, they were troubled that BOE Member Patty Brunner Collins who has been on the Bored for more than a 1/2 of a decade seemed surprised by the placements.  
As someone who has been on the Bored for many years, one would think Pom Pom would have a handle on where the kids in Hamburg attend school. 
But another view might suggest that Patty Brunner Collins and her old cronies on the Bored are "clueless" and have been clueless for many years, and as result Hamburg finds itself in a dire situation on many levels.  
Concerned asks, 
" Patty, do you have a clue? 
Or do you simply go blindly down the road? 
Wake Up Patty, you have a responsibility.

This parent further addressed the issue of New York State testing.  
 Concerned was informed that BOE member Sally Stephenson asked questions regarding state testing in grades 3-8, and what happens if a parent elects to "opt" their child out of testing.  

New York State testing of children grades 3-8 will begin next week. 
The test schedule per the Hamburg School District home page is as follows:
  • April 16, 2013

    Grades 3-8 ELA State AssessmentsApril 17, 2013
  • Grades 3-8 ELA State Assessments
  • April 18, 2013

    Grades 3-8 ELA State Assessments
  • April 19, 2013

    Grades 3-8 ELA State Assessments Make-ups
  • April 22, 2013

  • Grades 3-8 ELA State Assessments Make-ups
    Further, it was reported that at the budget workshop Sally Stephenson asked Hamburg School Superintendent Steven Achramovitch pointed questions regarding students whose parents elect to opt them out of NYS Tests.  Specifically, she asked, what students do while the other children are taking the lengthy tests.  Many tests are a minimum of 70 minutes.  So, naturally, Mrs. Stephenson probed Achramovitch about "opt out" student productivity during the lengthy testing periods that span across several days.  Sally told the Mr. Achramovitch that if he was not aware of the answers to her questions that he could get back to the Bored of Education so that they are accurately informed of the policies regarding students whose parents do not want them to take the NYS standardized tests. 
    Mr. Achramovitch told the Bored of Education and the community that all students must sit for the test even when their parents opted them out.   So simply put, Mr Achramovitch stated that New York State Department of Education requires that kids who are not taking the test,  but attend school on a test day MUST sit in the exam room with other students who are taking the test.   The "opt out" students must sit in the exam room with no books, they must sit and do nothing during the exam according to Mr. Achramovitch.Further, Achramovitch stated that students who are kept home on test days must make the exam up on a later date.  In Hamburg, State Assessment make-ups are April 19 and 22.  
    Oddly, Mr Achramovitch suggested to the Bored of Education that the New York State Department of Education sets the policies for the students who opt out.  Yet, in a WGRZ Channel 2 News report on April 10, 2013 the NYSED Commissioner King states that it is up to the school district to determine what happens to the "opt out" kids. 
    So, Mr. Achramovitch, which is it? Do "opt out" kids idle the hours of the day away while their "opt in" classmates sweat through another state assessment?   Remember Mr. Achramovitch, children are society's precious cargo. Parents choose to live in Hamburg, they choose to live in a community where they believe that adults will do what is in the very best interests of their precious gifts.  Mr. Achramovitch, kids are not test scores, they are not data, they are not predictable, they are not HEDI scores.  Students are loaned to teachers by their parents.  Parents entrust teachers and the adults in the school community and expect them to use kid gloves in making decisions for their children.  Mr. Achramovitch according to Commissioner King it is your decision what happens with "opt out" kids on test days.  If you expect "opt out" kids to sit and be made spectacles  in a classroom of test takers, shame on you.  At over 175,000 per year Mr. Achramovitch, get your act together and take care of all of Hamburg kids. 

Here is a link to the WGRZ report, and a sample transcript of the interview (in blue).
Commissioner John King: "The assessments are an opportunity for again, parents, for teachers, for schools to know how students are doing as they progress towards college and careers. As a parent  why wouldn't you want to know how your child is doing and whether or not they're on track for college and career success, whether their reading and math skills reflect a path that will take them to college and career success."
But what happens if a parent keeps their child from taking the test?
A spokesman for the State Education Department, Dennis Tompkins said "Parents who keep their children from these tests are essentially saying 'I don't want to know where my child stands, in objective terms, on the pat to college and career readiness' and we think that's doing them a real disservice."
In terms of any consequences for children who don't take the tests, the state says that would be up to the local school district to determine.


lied to by top officials said...

Sat's and Act's are the standard for college placements. High stakes testing is only making testing companies rich and a path toward breaking the backs of unions and the priviatization of public education. Please 70 and 90minutes of testing 3 days in a row. I was told by my friends that the supt and sb pres stated that op out kids had to sit at their desks for the 70 or 90 minutes a day for 3 consecutive days without anything on their desks, no books anything. This was all captured on my friend's iphone. The sb pres and supt claimed that they had no other choice state education required this treatment. Well I guess that the public and other sb members were lied to by the supt and sb pres. I listened to channel 2 news, states top education officals told a different story. They said the local school districts make the determinination as to what the op out kids will do during the 70 and 90 minutes. Our kids should not be made to be punished by the Supt. or the sb pres because of our decisions to not have our kids take these useless tests. Why would a doctor and the leader of the school district want our kids to be made to feel different because we believe teaching to these tests is not good for them and the testing is harmful to them.

teachers/student ambush said...

the only one benefiting here is PEARSON testing comp. HIGH STAKES TESTING IS GOOD BUSINESS FOR PEARSON,and big campaign contribution for the governor. NYSUTS took out full pg. add in most daily newspapers, expressing high stake testing concerns. President Ianuzzi statement is that testing is not done right and is bad for students & teachers. I just wish he would nothave rushed us to sigh on to a bad deal for education.

be careful how our children are treated said...

Our tax dollars are being wasted on high stakes testing. My kids are going to be opting out. I can assure you we will have a class action against the district, if our children are singled out in any way because of our concerns and decisions not to put the unnecessary anxiety and burden on our children and these tests. It is a waste of my tax dollars and our kids teachers resources.

Anonymous said...

Commissioner King sounds like he is not even sold on this experiment. When does one stand up to a bad plan? Parents opt out your childs personel data could be shared or compromised with who knows who.

parents said...

Supt and school board president, FRESH LIES. Opt out parents

Anonymous said...

If I was on the school board I would be pissed that sb pres. & supt passed along bad information / lies. Commissioner and state ed stated it is the dist decision on what the op out kids will do during the 70 or 90 minutes of testing.

What normal person would want to punish a child because of parental decisions. Only the two who passed off information that it was mandated by state ed for our kids to sit at their desks without being able to read or anything except stand out from the rest of the kids. More of us parents need to opt out. Teachers are powerless to advise us. Many teachers privately are passionately against testing . Op out for your kids and op out for the teachers. Testing is taking time from the classroom with no benefit to our children. When will people stand up for what is right and not this group think. alum

Anonymous said...

Nothing is private once a private testing company has our kids data & PERSONEL INFORMATION. It may define and haunt them in school placement or job placement in the future. Remember Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD. Our children's private ss#'s test scores may be shared with who knows to what levels. wE NEEDTO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN AND THAT MEANS NOW say no to testing op out.

lets connect & talk said...

Did I hear again another" dust up "and "fresh lie"? We need to attend the next school board meeting and not let the shcool board pres. shut down discussion on testing and opting out. Sorry we deserve some HONEST answers. I am beyond angry with how the supt and pres of the bd are handling our op out kids during testing. Parents need to connect and meet Start with school class lists and make calls. PTSA may be a start

Anonymous said...

sick of the blatant lies, we need some questions answered.

very concerned parents

Anonymous said...

Opt out all you want now, but once your kids hit high school there is no option to 'opt out' of Regents exams. That is unless you want to enroll your child in private school. I'm going to hate to see the anxiety the 9th graders whose parents opt them out of middle school testing have when presented with their Common Core Regents Math and Biology exams next year. Standardized testing is the way of life now for kids like it or not) might as well let them just used to taking the tests on lower stakes assessments in elementary and middle school before they melt down while taking their required exams for high school graduation.

pressure on kids said...

there will be no next time for my children. Kids not wanting to go to school today. Way to much pressure. Starting 2nd day today and a 3rd on Thursday. Come on does anyone in education have any common sense