Monday, April 6, 2009

{What do you think about this?}

Someone sent this to me and I want to know what everyone thinks. I am very interested.

I will be requesting an exemption from the state STAR testing for my children. The Colton School Board did not listen to the people of Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and Reche Canyon that will send their kids to the new High School. They do not deserve credit for our kids TEST scores. California Education code #60615 allows parents to exempt their kids from the test. Lets see how good Colton School district will do without the scores of Terrace View Elementary (806 API) or Reche Canyon Elementary (791 API) or Grand Terrace Elementary (769 API) or Cooley Ranch Elementary (763 API). Out of the 18 elementary schools in the Colton district they are ranked #1, #3, #4, #5 respectively.

Terrace Hills Middle School is the Highest of the four middle schools with an API score of 678.

The School Board asked our opinion about the name of the new High School but refused to listen to the answer. Now we must resort to other means to make our voice heard.

Here is a sample waiver request:

Dear School Administrator,
I am requesting an exemption for my child______________________ from taking the STAR test this year. Education code 60615 states, “ Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent's or guardian's written request to school officials to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter shall be granted.” Please contact me in writing to confirm receipt of this request and inform me where my child will be during the testing time and what instruction will be provided.

Your name
Phone #

cc: Superintendent Jim Downs, The Sun Newspaper, the Press Enterprise=


Anonymous said...

I think threatening the school district and board with this is a great idea, especially for those parents with students at the schools you listed. However, the unfortunate outcome will be that the school itself will get majorly dinged on their API score. Schools are penalized by the state if so many students DO NOT take the test which is why most teachers don't openly advertise or promote the "Waiver." AND in addition, the teachers and principals at those school sites are the ones held accountable. This is again why so many teachers do not willingly offer this information to parents; their school, their principal, and they are unfortuantely "judged" by their students participation on this ONE test. This would be a huge detriment to your child's actual school, principal and teacher.

The Colton District is already a Performance Improvement targeted district by the state and is being closely overseen by the state.

So YES, threaten that you will sign a waiver as parents have the right; however, please keep in mind the long term affect on your HARD WORKING teachers if a mass number of parents opt their child out of testing.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher too. As teachers we complain about the value of so much testing. We know that our English Language Learners and Special Education students struggle with the tests. We don't like that we have to test 2nd graders.

Personally, I teach 7th grade world history. There is no test for that in 7th grade but in 8th grade they test 6th,7th, and 8th grade History. How fair is that?

We live and die by these tests but they truly mean nothing to the kids. We create all these incentives to make the kids want to try hard but it is really to validate what we do in the classroom. GT schools have good test scores because they have good teachers but also because they have good families. The most active PTA's are in GT.

Let the state try to say that GT schools don't cut it because parents opt out. Its time that we teachers stop playing the testing game. The tests are not the end all be all of education. GT kids are smart. They are learning at proficient and advanced levels and we don't need a test score to tell us that.

Tobin Brinker

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

My kids don't go to public school in Grand Terrace, but right now... I sure wish they did JUST so I could sign this waiver.

It is brilliant and I wish I had thought of it.

One of the main reasons I quit teaching was the "teach to test" stuff that went on here in CA.

There are a lot of great teachers out there, and these tests are all for money, nothing else.

This is a great idea!

Silence DoGoodie said...

Waiver request...

Now that the cards have been revealed to encourage parents to opt their child out of STAR testing here’s a plan that has been successful in the past:

> Conference with your legal team on your procedure.
> Draft a factual flyer for circulation. Make multiple copies.
> Draft a uniform exemption waiver that will meet the acceptance requirements to file a request for exemption for their child in taking the STAR test, year 2009.
> Make multiple copies of the waiver for testing.
> Take the recall petitions and factual flyers in hand with multiple copies of the waiver and GO DOOR TO DOOR.
> If someone is at home: talk to them and ask for a signature, hand them a copy of the waiver.
> If no one is at home leave a factual flyer at the door with directions to businesses where the recall petitions are located.
> Network with leadership for all groups in the city of Grand Terrace i.e.: senior groups, Boy Scouts, churches etc.
> Attend all local events with petitions and waivers in hand where parents have a connection or concern over this mater, i.e., soccer games, rallies, etc.

I still have reservations on whether there is authentic support from the Major and members of the Grand Terrace City Council due to the question of whether an official letter on letterhead with signatures was actually sent by the Grand Terrace City Council to the C.J.U.S.D. Members of the Board of Trustees. A letter has been posted by Neil Derry that shows an example of an official letter.

Silence DoGoodie

Anonymous said...

Letti, WHATEVER IT TAKES!!!!! Do it, just make sure that all the information that STAR requires is on the Waiver. Draw up all the necessary paperwork, scan it to a PDF and attach the link to this blogspot! This is another way to get it to everyone along with simply emailing the waiver to everyone. If possible, have the GT Newspaper, City News, etc. print the website as to where to find the forms. This is the SUPPORT that the School Board has always TAKEN FOR GRANTED. We need to cut their "life-support" so-to-speak off!!! Great Idea!!!

SueH said...

I am also a teacher. Be assured that there are no repercussions for your students if you opt out of testing. However, there are ramifications for the district. If scores are too low and don't show improvement over time the district can be taken over by the state. The school board then loses power and decisions are made by people appointed by the state. The opt out is a powerful way to show our solidarity if the parents of Grand Terrace stand together. We have been fighting the prejudices of CJUSD school board too long and it is time to take a stand.

Anonymous said...

BE AWARE - There ARE ramifications of opting out of STAR Testing. These are the placement tests for the following School Year. Incoming HS Students will be placed based on the 8th Grade School Year Star Testing. Use this Information as you wish. Do some research for your specific situation BEFORE you make your decision.

Silence DoGoodie said...

BE AWARE - The bottom line is PARENTAL RIGHTS!

Despite a child’s previous year’s test scores parents can tell the district that they want their child in college preparation courses. That’s the law.

The Student Tracking Advising Retention System (STARS) is based on nothing more than an education system of outcome-based education (garbage-in, garbage-out).

Tracking is viewed by some as discriminatory while others are reminiscent of how socialist and communist countries “tracked students” and made “appropriate decisions” as to what career paths and occupations would be made available to the students despite their wishes and requests from their parents.

Grand Terrace parents still have rights to protect their children --- just like refusing to give permission for the school to give their children harmful vaccines. The state doesn’t own your children, despite what propaganda is used to otherwise persuade you.


Silence DoGoodie

Anonymous said...

The district will use scare tactics to get parents to make their kids take the test. Colton High teachers have already started telling kids they will not be allowed to take Advanced Placement classes next year if they do not take the STAR test this year.


There are many civil rights laws that were passed to protect student rights so that districts cannot use tests like these to track kids. I will post links later.


Anonymous said...

To the CJUSD School Board... the failure of your schools begins at or after the 6th grade. This is where the grades and tests begin to slip. This is a problem within the school, and home and community in providing sufficent services and parenting to the children youth at age 11 to 18.. By the time the youth gets to High School, any high school in the CJUSD there is a 75 percent likelyhood they will drop out. That child is known at the end of the 6th or 7th grade. Yet there has been a failure to address this.

For the parents now spending time on a Name... how many of them have spent 1/10th the time at a PTA meeting, tutoring some one's child, or helping at a school? It is a Name for goodness sake. Other than a figh over a name what have you done to "Improve" the education of the students in CJUSD?

As to putting children in the middle of the naming of the HS? Well the Parents are the ones bringing the children into the debate and protests, not the CJUSD...

GTHS should be the name... but make sure your arguments or points are valid...

Regarding testing... many of the GT Students are held back, drop out and don't finish High School... "Our Students" are not all saints... do not be fooled...

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

Everyone is so afraid of the school district. Some people are even afraid to put their NAMES on a blog comment... ahem... wink wink to the last comment before this one.

As parents, you have all the rights in the world to get what you want for you students. If you don't get it at Colton, those will be grounds for you to move your student to a district that WILL give you what you want.

CUJSD... HOW MANY INTERdistrict tranfers have you recieved recently?
Hundreds I bet. Maybe even thousands? Most of my friends kids do not and will not attend Colton because of this very slap in the face. Smarten yourselves up! Like the last commenter, who is nameless, said... It's just a name.. so change it to GTHS!