Tuesday, April 21, 2009

{The Sun 4/21/2009}

Grand Terrace parents want kids to avoid test

By Stacia Glenn on April 20, 2009
Hoping to pressure the Colton school board to change the name of the new high school here, parents are opting their children out of a state-mandated achievement test.
Several parents in some of the Colton Joint Unified School District's highest-performing schools have signed waivers asking that their students not be tested.
The district could be penalized by the state if enough students don't participate in the test, officials said.
The parents' protest comes in response to the school board's decision in March to name the school after former trustee Ray Abril Jr., a longtime Colton resident.
The district asked the public to submit names for the new school, scheduled to open in fall 2011. Grand Terrace High School was the winner. Ray Abril or Ray Abril Jr. High School came in fourth place.
Two weeks ago, former trustee Tobin Brinker told the board that parents would opt their children out of the so-called Star Testing Standardized Testing And Reporting test program, which measures performance in English-language arts, math, science and history for grades two through 11.
The testing in the Colton district runs from April 27 through May 26.
"This is a way to send a message," said Brinker, a San Bernardino Councilman whose son and daughter attend Colton district schools. "If you won't listen to our opinion about the name of the high school, then you don't get the benefit of our test scores."
Brinker, who opted his two children out of the STAR test, is part of a group that passed out letters to parents whose students will attend the new high school.
A large group is expected to show up Thursday to urge the board to rename the school Grand Terrace High School.
"If you change the name, if you listen to us, then we will let our children take the test," said Grand Terrace native Letti Byrd, who opted two of her children out of the test.
Some board members say they are open to listening to the community.
"All I can say is I'm looking at options to heal our community," said board member Kent Taylor.
District spokeswoman Katie Orloff said she did not know how many parents signed waivers.
"Parents should know that while they have a right to opt their kids out, it eliminates an important source of information about the progress their student is making in school," Orloff said. "It's too bad that they are choosing to take their concerns about their name of the high school out on our educational programs and the students who go to school here in this district."
On Monday, Superintendent James Downs sent home a letter reminding parents of the importance of the STAR testing program.
Orloff said the district is looking into the consequences if a large number of parents opt out.Under the federal law known as No Child Left Behind, each school district and school must have at least a 95-percent participation rate on statewide tests to meet federal accountability requirements.
California also uses an Academic Performance Index for measuring progress. Districts run afoul of state accountability standards if schools don't test at least 85 percent of students in each subject area.
"If they violate that rule, the state Department of Education will invalidate their API score," said Rachel Perry, the department's director of the policy and evaluation division.


Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

This makes me want to take my kids out of private school and enroll them in Colton JUST so I can OPT OUT OF THE TEST!!!

Mr. Brinker... YOU ARE A GENIUS!

It is about time everyone stands up to the CJUSD!

Maybe now... they will listen... and remember to vote them all OUT the next election... EXCEPT PAT HERO (HARO)

Anonymous said...

Patt Haro is a Hero.


Anonymous said...

At the GTHS construction area there is a large sign announcing the new Ray Abril High School. So much for fair consideration. This school board is something else.

Anonymous said...

The day of the groundbreaking I noticed the signs had the new name-and I have to say, in light of the situation, I thought it was insensitive and inflammatory.
Separate issue--but since I'm writing--in general I think posting the names of the board and other gov't officials on construction sites--though a long-standing practice--is a silly practice. The only purpose is a self promotional one--and one I think should disappear--board, residents, lots of folks worked to get the school built--perhaps the timeline should be posted too--if we're going to look at the big picture. I think a more inclusive, community-oriented, districtwide-oriented sign is more honest, transparent and truthful. If we can't include everyone's name--maybe we should simply acknowledge the efforts of all. It really is time to change from the old ways. A sign is a small part, but it can make a difference--match perception and reality.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think that the people who don't like the school board should either go through with the recall, start a campaign to challenge the incumbents in the next election, or quit whining. The name of a high school is the least of Colton schools problems. Coming up with a campaign on improving Colton schools and not merely to give them "better" names shouldn't be hard.

Silly pointless protests and meaningless petitions aren't going to change anything. Short of putting up a serious challenge to the incumbents in an election either a regularly scheduled one or a recall election is pretty much a waste of time. The board clearly has heard your criticism and they aren't budging. Either stand up and challenge the board politically or quit whining.

Amanda Betten said...

Pat Haro and Tobin Brinker are heros to the entire Colton School District. They have stood up for what they believe in and backed it.

The state wouldn't have made Education Code 60615, if were going to harm your child. I encourage you to look up the codes yourself online.

Thank you for all the support this community has shown. The overwhelming ourpour of support is amazing, keep it up!

Amanda Betten