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Re: [wccusdtalk] Re: Too Many Tests?

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  • Tammera Campbell
    I can understand the concern for special ed students and foreign speaking students passing the standardized tests and high school exit exams, but frankly folks
    Message 1 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      I can understand the concern for special ed students and foreign speaking students passing the standardized tests and high school exit exams, but frankly folks we need to have some sort of accountability for what our general ed children are learning in school. If you are a regular ed student who cannot pass the high school exit exam by the time you are in 10th grade, then we had better look at the education our children are receiving from K-10 and focus on improving that strategy. Avoiding the issues and making excuses will not help these children succeed to adulthood. If we don't raise expectations high we will have a third world society that cannot survive in this global economy.
      Tammy

      Elizabeth Jaeger <elizabethjaeger@...> wrote:
      I would only ask for evidence of the improvement you site.

      --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "bedwellr" <bedwellr@...> wrote:
      >
      > Marilyn writes: "If massive numbers of teachers, with strong
      parental
      > and student support, declared that instead of administering the
      tests,
      > they were going to teach students on test days ... we could take
      back
      > our schools and fill them with the positive learning communities in
      > which people of all ages can thrive."
      >
      > When were our schools "positive learning communities in which
      people
      > of all ages ... thrive(d)"? While I certainly don't support NCLB
      as
      > it is presently written, I definitely DO support heavy
      accountability
      > within our schools, even if that is inconvenient or threatening to
      > some. Unfortunately, it seems like many people are under the
      > impression that our schools were tremendously successful until the
      > evil of testing reared its ugly head. Nothing could be further
      from
      > the truth, of course; our schools were failing miserably, which is
      why
      > testing took on such added importance.
      >
      > High stakes testing is far from a panacea, but I have witnessed a
      wave
      > of positive change as a result of the added emphasis on serious
      > academics, on professionalism amongst teachers and support staff,
      and
      > especially on making sure that ALL (not just some) groups of
      students
      > make academic progress. I think that, on balance, we're a lot
      better
      > off than we were five years ago. It might be less comfortable for
      > some people, but students seem to have grown (though of course they
      > have a great deal farther to go) in their basic academic skills.
      This
      > is no surprise, since the best way to "teach to the test" is to
      work
      > harder (and smarter) to increase students' abilities in what the
      tests
      > are attempting to measure, which are mainly literacy and
      numeracy.
      >
      > I'm always amazed to hear "test anxiety" given as a reason for
      > avoiding tests. The poor children! They might be uncomfortable.
      > Heaven forbid that we teach our students ways to overcome such
      > anxieties; who needs to learn presence of mind, relaxation while
      under
      > pressure, the courage and desire to thrive while performing
      difficult
      > tasks, etc.? What use could that possibly have in the real world?
      >
      > I'm sure I'll be pilloried in this forum for holding these non-P.C.
      > opinions, but so be it.
      >
      > Ralph
      >
      > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, langlois-rine@ wrote:
      > >
      > > Thanks, Kevin, Elizabeth, Eduardo and Jill for your lucid
      responses
      > to David's question about why someone might want to opt their kids
      out
      > of the state tests.
      > >
      > > If you feel the state and federal laws on API and AYP are
      > oppressive, and are frustrated by legislative foot-dragging, here
      are
      > three levels of nonviolent resistance that could give lawmakers a
      > wake-up call:
      > >
      > > 1. Cooperative resistance: In the spirit of parents getting
      more
      > involved in their children's education (something the pols say they
      > want, right?)-- If massive numbers of parents exercised their
      FERPA
      > rights to get copies of their children's test answer sheets and to
      > review the test booklets so they can see what the answer sheets
      mean,
      > it would really gum up the works. It would be important for
      teachers
      > to support parents in making these requests.
      > >
      > > 2. Noncooperative resistance, low risk: If massive numbers of
      > parents opted their children out of taking the state tests, the
      > program would soon fizzle. Again, teachers would need to be
      > supportive of this action, even though state law prevents them from
      > "encouraging" it. As for threats that opting out will cause the
      > school to lose money, there is no documented case that I'm aware of
      > where a school has actually lost any Title 1 funds due to parent
      opt
      > outs.
      > >
      > > 3. Noncooperative resistance, high risk: If massive numbers of
      > teachers, with strong parental and student support, declared that
      > instead of administering the tests, they were going to teach
      students
      > on test days (and perhaps even invite the public to come watch
      them do
      > that!), we could take back our schools and fill them with the
      positive
      > learning communities in which people of all ages can thrive. As
      > Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see."
      > >
      > > Any other ideas?
      > > Peace,
      > > Marilyn
      > >
      > >
      > > -------------- Original message --------------
      > > From: "Kevin Rivard" <kfrivard@>
      > >
      > > > Ralph,
      > > >
      > > > In order to understand why a parent would opt out of testing
      their
      > children
      > > > you have to understand the testing and how the kids are
      prepared
      > for it.
      > > >
      > > > Some of the tests are given two weeks of preparation. This
      means
      > for two
      > > > weeks lesson plans are put aside. There are only 180 days of
      > instructional
      > > > education in a school year. If each test takes an average of
      one
      > week of
      > > > preparation and there are four tests a year and the tests can
      take
      > up to
      > > > three days to give then there are a total of six weeks of test
      > giving just
      > > > for the State and Federal mandates. That is just for the
      students.
      > Then you
      > > > figure in the Staff development days needed for the teachers
      and
      > aides and
      > > > volunteers to be trained in how to give the tests prepare the
      > tests for
      > > > correction and you have, a total of two months of distraction,
      of
      > the six
      > > > months your child is in school.
      > > >
      > > > But the real kicker is the schools are doing the testing
      primarily
      > not to
      > > > find out where each student is but to keep the Federal dollars
      > flowing into
      > > > the schools. This district's plan while Gloria was in charge
      was
      > to focus
      > > > attention on about the lower middle student, educationally
      > speaking. The
      > > > district resources were given to those students because by
      raising
      > that
      > > > groups test scores the district could raise the overall scores
      > enough to
      > > > keep the low performing schools out of the levels that would
      cause
      > a State
      > > > takeover. In other words the testing became a manipulation of
      the
      > original
      > > > reasons for the tests and was not being used for the good of
      all the
      > > > students. The lower level and upper level students were being
      > abandoned in
      > > > the hopes of raising the students scores that could help beat
      the
      > system.
      > > >
      > > > If parents continue to allow this testing to go on without some
      > sort of
      > > > protest then the lower level kids and the upper level kids will
      > continue to
      > > > suffer from the loss of the two months taken away from their
      general
      > > > education time that is taken up by testing, who's main reason
      has
      > now become
      > > > keeping the Federal dollars flowing.
      > > >
      > > > There is a way to test students individually that does what you
      > suggest
      > > > without taking away from the general education time. It was
      done
      > while my
      > > > daughter was at Richmond High and it was successful. However,
      it was
      > > > torpedoed by downtown administration in favor of the above
      testing
      > > > manipulation.
      > > >
      > > > The tests to support NCLB are different in every state so to
      say
      > you can
      > > > compare your child with other students because of these tests
      is a
      > fallacy.
      > > > Not only are each States tests different, the way each county
      and
      > each
      > > > district prepares their students is different. The way each
      > teacher gives
      > > > the test is different. Slight nuances, coaching, preparation,
      how
      > the school
      > > > notifies parents and encourages parental participation, all
      these
      > reasons
      > > > make a huge difference. When my daughter was in Independent
      > elementary
      > > > school the teacher gave the tests and went around to each
      student and
      > > > suggested they check answers. Had I not been in the room I
      would
      > not have
      > > > seen that. What other teachers do in their rooms influence
      > outcomes and
      > > > therefore are not necessarily objective.
      > > >
      > > > The educational delivery system is broken and needs to be
      fixed. But
      > > > starting with testing and working backwards is not a solution
      that
      > I believe
      > > > will help the students. We need to define what we want
      education
      > to be,
      > > > create a delivery system to meet that definition and then
      create
      > tests that
      > > > will validate that definition.
      > > >
      > > > Right now there is no clear definition of education so there
      can
      > never be a
      > > > test to validate this illusionary target we call an educated
      student.
      > > >
      > > > Kevin
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > >From: "bedwellr"
      > > > >Reply-To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
      > > > >To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
      > > > >Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: Too Many Tests?
      > > > >Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 03:27:10 -0000
      > > > >
      > > > >Students may opt out at parental request, but I've never
      understood
      > > > >why a parent would not want their child to take them. Taking
      the
      > test
      > > > >will (a) help parents know where their child stands in
      relation to
      > > > >other students in their same grade; b) help teachers and
      > adminstrators
      > > > >know what strategies to use to best help that child in their
      > education
      > > > >in the near future; and (c) help keep the child's school off
      the
      > > > >failing schools list. The test is free and valuable for all
      > > > >concerned; I would never consider having my kids sit out the
      test!
      > > > >
      > > > >Ralph
      > > > >
      > > > >--- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Marilyn Langlois
      > > > > wrote:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Dear Linda--
      > > > > >
      > > > > > The California Ed Code gives parents the right to opt their
      > children
      > > > >out of
      > > > > > the STAR test. All you have to do is give the principal a
      > brief written
      > > > > > note to that effect.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Last Friday and Saturday I attended a conference at Cal
      State
      > Fresno on
      > > > > > Critical Literacy and High Stakes Testing. Here's
      something I
      > > > >learned there
      > > > > > that parents might find useful:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > According to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy
      > Act), your
      > > > >child's
      > > > > > test answer sheet is an "education record" that you have a
      > right to get
      > > > > > access to. FERPA furthermore requires schools to respond to
      > reasonable
      > > > > > requests for explanations and interpretations of those
      records,
      > > > >which means
      > > > > > school staff would have to show you the test question
      booklet
      > to explain
      > > > > > what your child's answer sheet means.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > In other words, come summer, when test scores arrive in
      the mail,
      > > > >you can
      > > > > > find out what those numbers actually mean, by exercising
      your
      > right
      > > > >to see
      > > > > > specifically which questions your child got right and
      wrong.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Marilyn
      > > > > >
      > > > > > > From: "Linda"
      > > > > > > Reply-To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
      > > > > > > Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 05:42:59 -0000
      > > > > > > To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
      > > > > > > Subject: [wccusdtalk] Too Many Tests?
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > In a Thursday packet from our school it said: State
      Testing
      > begins
      > > > >April 11th.
      > > > > > > I heard the
      > > > > > > School District is giving 9 tests to our kids this year!
      Does
      > > > >someone know
      > > > > > > what the latest
      > > > > > > tests are? And how do I opt out of my child having to
      take all
      > > > >these tests?
      > > > > > > And where is
      > > > > > > this info going to?
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > I also heard that some of these test records are stored
      > online by
      > > > >some company
      > > > > > > and that
      > > > > > > potentially others can access this info on your child.
      Does
      > anyone
      > > > >know more
      > > > > > > about this?
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > I tried to look up this info on the District Site, which
      is not
      > > > >working.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Curious,
      > > > > > > Llnda
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >






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      Tammera (Tammy) E. Campbell
      Pinole CARE
      Pinole Valley High Safety Chair
      Pinole Valley High School Boosters
      Pinole Middle School Site Council President
      Pinole Middle School Measure D Committee
      2668 Alhambra Way
      Pinole, CA 94564
      Home: 510-223-3857
      Work: 510-486-4460
      Fax: 510-222-4643
      Pager: 510-425-3192
      Email: Tammera.Campbell@...

      Following are contacts for other email lists to consider joining:
      Ellerhorst Elementary School: ellerhorst_etree@...
      Collins Elementary School: alisoncrooks@...
      Pinole Middle School: Tammera.Campbell@...
      Pinole Valley High School: mikewitz2@...
      Pinole CARE: parents@...
      WCCUSD Parent Forum: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com

      ---------------------------------
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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tammera Campbell
      Marilyn, I hold you in high esteem, but I fear that the punitive parts of NCLB will rear its ugly head if for political reasons our kids opt not to take the
      Message 2 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Marilyn,
        I hold you in high esteem, but I fear that the punitive parts of NCLB will rear its ugly head if for political reasons our kids opt not to take the test. Ask the parents and students at ECHS if they are happy because they went under the evil eye because a group of students decided to skip the test per teacher encouragement. The lack of taking the test has now put them at risk and oversight. How much freedom will they have now to educate the students at ECHS.

        I believe that testing can be a pain, but as a parent I want to have some kind of testing against standards to know where my child is in the educational scheme. I do believe that punishing schools and students is the wrong thing to do if they can't reach the goals. Seems ridiculous when schools increase their API scores 150 points but fail AYP.

        Tests and accountability is not going away. The question is whether we can find the right formula that addresses all the needs including accountability.
        Tammy Campbell

        langlois-rine@... wrote:
        Thanks, Kevin, Elizabeth, Eduardo and Jill for your lucid responses to David's question about why someone might want to opt their kids out of the state tests.

        If you feel the state and federal laws on API and AYP are oppressive, and are frustrated by legislative foot-dragging, here are three levels of nonviolent resistance that could give lawmakers a wake-up call:

        1. Cooperative resistance: In the spirit of parents getting more involved in their children's education (something the pols say they want, right?)-- If massive numbers of parents exercised their FERPA rights to get copies of their children's test answer sheets and to review the test booklets so they can see what the answer sheets mean, it would really gum up the works. It would be important for teachers to support parents in making these requests.

        2. Noncooperative resistance, low risk: If massive numbers of parents opted their children out of taking the state tests, the program would soon fizzle. Again, teachers would need to be supportive of this action, even though state law prevents them from "encouraging" it. As for threats that opting out will cause the school to lose money, there is no documented case that I'm aware of where a school has actually lost any Title 1 funds due to parent opt outs.

        3. Noncooperative resistance, high risk: If massive numbers of teachers, with strong parental and student support, declared that instead of administering the tests, they were going to teach students on test days (and perhaps even invite the public to come watch them do that!), we could take back our schools and fill them with the positive learning communities in which people of all ages can thrive. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see."

        Any other ideas?
        Peace,
        Marilyn


        -------------- Original message --------------
        From: "Kevin Rivard" <kfrivard@...>

        > Ralph,
        >
        > In order to understand why a parent would opt out of testing their children
        > you have to understand the testing and how the kids are prepared for it.
        >
        > Some of the tests are given two weeks of preparation. This means for two
        > weeks lesson plans are put aside. There are only 180 days of instructional
        > education in a school year. If each test takes an average of one week of
        > preparation and there are four tests a year and the tests can take up to
        > three days to give then there are a total of six weeks of test giving just
        > for the State and Federal mandates. That is just for the students. Then you
        > figure in the Staff development days needed for the teachers and aides and
        > volunteers to be trained in how to give the tests prepare the tests for
        > correction and you have, a total of two months of distraction, of the six
        > months your child is in school.
        >
        > But the real kicker is the schools are doing the testing primarily not to
        > find out where each student is but to keep the Federal dollars flowing into
        > the schools. This district's plan while Gloria was in charge was to focus
        > attention on about the lower middle student, educationally speaking. The
        > district resources were given to those students because by raising that
        > groups test scores the district could raise the overall scores enough to
        > keep the low performing schools out of the levels that would cause a State
        > takeover. In other words the testing became a manipulation of the original
        > reasons for the tests and was not being used for the good of all the
        > students. The lower level and upper level students were being abandoned in
        > the hopes of raising the students scores that could help beat the system.
        >
        > If parents continue to allow this testing to go on without some sort of
        > protest then the lower level kids and the upper level kids will continue to
        > suffer from the loss of the two months taken away from their general
        > education time that is taken up by testing, who's main reason has now become
        > keeping the Federal dollars flowing.
        >
        > There is a way to test students individually that does what you suggest
        > without taking away from the general education time. It was done while my
        > daughter was at Richmond High and it was successful. However, it was
        > torpedoed by downtown administration in favor of the above testing
        > manipulation.
        >
        > The tests to support NCLB are different in every state so to say you can
        > compare your child with other students because of these tests is a fallacy.
        > Not only are each States tests different, the way each county and each
        > district prepares their students is different. The way each teacher gives
        > the test is different. Slight nuances, coaching, preparation, how the school
        > notifies parents and encourages parental participation, all these reasons
        > make a huge difference. When my daughter was in Independent elementary
        > school the teacher gave the tests and went around to each student and
        > suggested they check answers. Had I not been in the room I would not have
        > seen that. What other teachers do in their rooms influence outcomes and
        > therefore are not necessarily objective.
        >
        > The educational delivery system is broken and needs to be fixed. But
        > starting with testing and working backwards is not a solution that I believe
        > will help the students. We need to define what we want education to be,
        > create a delivery system to meet that definition and then create tests that
        > will validate that definition.
        >
        > Right now there is no clear definition of education so there can never be a
        > test to validate this illusionary target we call an educated student.
        >
        > Kevin
        >
        >
        > >From: "bedwellr"
        > >Reply-To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
        > >To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
        > >Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: Too Many Tests?
        > >Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 03:27:10 -0000
        > >
        > >Students may opt out at parental request, but I've never understood
        > >why a parent would not want their child to take them. Taking the test
        > >will (a) help parents know where their child stands in relation to
        > >other students in their same grade; b) help teachers and adminstrators
        > >know what strategies to use to best help that child in their education
        > >in the near future; and (c) help keep the child's school off the
        > >failing schools list. The test is free and valuable for all
        > >concerned; I would never consider having my kids sit out the test!
        > >
        > >Ralph
        > >
        > >--- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Marilyn Langlois
        > > wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Dear Linda--
        > > >
        > > > The California Ed Code gives parents the right to opt their children
        > >out of
        > > > the STAR test. All you have to do is give the principal a brief written
        > > > note to that effect.
        > > >
        > > > Last Friday and Saturday I attended a conference at Cal State Fresno on
        > > > Critical Literacy and High Stakes Testing. Here's something I
        > >learned there
        > > > that parents might find useful:
        > > >
        > > > According to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), your
        > >child's
        > > > test answer sheet is an "education record" that you have a right to get
        > > > access to. FERPA furthermore requires schools to respond to reasonable
        > > > requests for explanations and interpretations of those records,
        > >which means
        > > > school staff would have to show you the test question booklet to explain
        > > > what your child's answer sheet means.
        > > >
        > > > In other words, come summer, when test scores arrive in the mail,
        > >you can
        > > > find out what those numbers actually mean, by exercising your right
        > >to see
        > > > specifically which questions your child got right and wrong.
        > > >
        > > > Marilyn
        > > >
        > > > > From: "Linda"
        > > > > Reply-To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
        > > > > Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 05:42:59 -0000
        > > > > To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
        > > > > Subject: [wccusdtalk] Too Many Tests?
        > > > >
        > > > > In a Thursday packet from our school it said: State Testing begins
        > >April 11th.
        > > > > I heard the
        > > > > School District is giving 9 tests to our kids this year! Does
        > >someone know
        > > > > what the latest
        > > > > tests are? And how do I opt out of my child having to take all
        > >these tests?
        > > > > And where is
        > > > > this info going to?
        > > > >
        > > > > I also heard that some of these test records are stored online by
        > >some company
        > > > > and that
        > > > > potentially others can access this info on your child. Does anyone
        > >know more
        > > > > about this?
        > > > >
        > > > > I tried to look up this info on the District Site, which is not
        > >working.
        > > > >
        > > > > Curious,
        > > > > Llnda
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

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        Tammera (Tammy) E. Campbell
        Pinole CARE
        Pinole Valley High Safety Chair
        Pinole Valley High School Boosters
        Pinole Middle School Site Council President
        Pinole Middle School Measure D Committee
        2668 Alhambra Way
        Pinole, CA 94564
        Home: 510-223-3857
        Work: 510-486-4460
        Fax: 510-222-4643
        Pager: 510-425-3192
        Email: Tammera.Campbell@...

        Following are contacts for other email lists to consider joining:
        Ellerhorst Elementary School: ellerhorst_etree@...
        Collins Elementary School: alisoncrooks@...
        Pinole Middle School: Tammera.Campbell@...
        Pinole Valley High School: mikewitz2@...
        Pinole CARE: parents@...
        WCCUSD Parent Forum: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com

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      • rcs101@att.net
        --First, one should never avoid the issue of failing students, be it socially, emotionally or academically. But how many test does it take to know that a
        Message 3 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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          --First, one should never avoid the issue of failing students, be it socially, emotionally or academically. But how many test does it take to know that a student is not progressing in the above areas? A teacher, parent, friend or family member would be able to know how a child is progressing without any one giving him/her a test. The test in most cases verify what is already known, therefore, "how many test does it take"?

          Second, one must ask whether the data from "one" given test on "one give day" is a valid measure of a students abilities. If one believe so, then all the other test that students have taken (teacher observation, in class test, STAR, etc)have provide incorrect data or have been over looked by those in a position to help students move forward. Or as some would say, the public system is a place where social promotion is the game and student failure is their name. The implication behind the High School Exit Exam is a moral dilemma for teachers, administrators and parent to some degree. The questions are; have we allowed a student to pass all the requirements for graduation without proper preparation for the next steps in their life? Did we lie to students and parents about a child's ability to move on to the next level without him/her properly acquiring the necessary skills? Or is the curriculum taught so inadequate that what we think is an "A" student is merely a "C" at best or "D" st
          udent?

          If the answer to any one of the questions is "yes" then all the test in the world will not help the students, because by allowing a student to believe he/she has master the grade level requirements and much later tell them they are failures, is a crime of moral deviants that those who had a responsibility to the student's success should suffer the consequences. I hold parent the least responsible, in that they are told (and legally mandate until 16) to bring their children into a public environment that should enhance their abilities and where they are require to spend time, monies (tax dollar) supporting when their children are not receiving what school district's say they are doing to improve the quality of life for the students. Maybe this explains the home school and charter school movement. Any child that has pass all District level requirements for graduation and do not receive a diploma because of the Exit Exam should sue any and all persons involved in their education.

          As far as opting out of testing, one should do so, if they believe that the test is not a valid measure of a students ability or if they believe it is morally wrong to kill the spirit of a student after years of study and blaming the victims of a morally corrupt system. Therefore, board member David Brown action is an act of civil disobedience that should be supported because to do otherwise is to say, "you have supported a system that have not done its job and you have lied to students and parents for all the years that the students have been in your charge". Not only have you lied to them, but you have taken their most important resource, their children and tax dollars to feed an academically and morally corrupt system.

          Also, as it relates to third world societies, educationally, they are more advanced then this capitalist society. Most of the leadership of this country have been "C" students. Therefore, as history will show, the most morally diviant persons are the ones with the most wealth. All one has to do is to look at the labels on most items they buy and know that we are producing nothing but a morally corrupt leadership that will not stand the test of time.

          Scottie Smith



          -------------- Original message ----------------------
          From: Tammera Campbell <tammeracampbell@...>
          > I can understand the concern for special ed students and foreign speaking
          > students passing the standardized tests and high school exit exams, but frankly
          > folks we need to have some sort of accountability for what our general ed
          > children are learning in school. If you are a regular ed student who cannot
          > pass the high school exit exam by the time you are in 10th grade, then we had
          > better look at the education our children are receiving from K-10 and focus on
          > improving that strategy. Avoiding the issues and making excuses will not help
          > these children succeed to adulthood. If we don't raise expectations high we
          > will have a third world society that cannot survive in this global economy.
          > Tammy
          >
          > Elizabeth Jaeger <elizabethjaeger@...> wrote:
          > I would only ask for evidence of the improvement you site.
          >
          > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "bedwellr" <bedwellr@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Marilyn writes: "If massive numbers of teachers, with strong
          > parental
          > > and student support, declared that instead of administering the
          > tests,
          > > they were going to teach students on test days ... we could take
          > back
          > > our schools and fill them with the positive learning communities in
          > > which people of all ages can thrive."
          > >
          > > When were our schools "positive learning communities in which
          > people
          > > of all ages ... thrive(d)"? While I certainly don't support NCLB
          > as
          > > it is presently written, I definitely DO support heavy
          > accountability
          > > within our schools, even if that is inconvenient or threatening to
          > > some. Unfortunately, it seems like many people are under the
          > > impression that our schools were tremendously successful until the
          > > evil of testing reared its ugly head. Nothing could be further
          > from
          > > the truth, of course; our schools were failing miserably, which is
          > why
          > > testing took on such added importance.
          > >
          > > High stakes testing is far from a panacea, but I have witnessed a
          > wave
          > > of positive change as a result of the added emphasis on serious
          > > academics, on professionalism amongst teachers and support staff,
          > and
          > > especially on making sure that ALL (not just some) groups of
          > students
          > > make academic progress. I think that, on balance, we're a lot
          > better
          > > off than we were five years ago. It might be less comfortable for
          > > some people, but students seem to have grown (though of course they
          > > have a great deal farther to go) in their basic academic skills.
          > This
          > > is no surprise, since the best way to "teach to the test" is to
          > work
          > > harder (and smarter) to increase students' abilities in what the
          > tests
          > > are attempting to measure, which are mainly literacy and
          > numeracy.
          > >
          > > I'm always amazed to hear "test anxiety" given as a reason for
          > > avoiding tests. The poor children! They might be uncomfortable.
          > > Heaven forbid that we teach our students ways to overcome such
          > > anxieties; who needs to learn presence of mind, relaxation while
          > under
          > > pressure, the courage and desire to thrive while performing
          > difficult
          > > tasks, etc.? What use could that possibly have in the real world?
          > >
          > > I'm sure I'll be pilloried in this forum for holding these non-P.C.
          > > opinions, but so be it.
          > >
          > > Ralph
          > >
          > > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, langlois-rine@ wrote:
          > > >
          > > > Thanks, Kevin, Elizabeth, Eduardo and Jill for your lucid
          > responses
          > > to David's question about why someone might want to opt their kids
          > out
          > > of the state tests.
          > > >
          > > > If you feel the state and federal laws on API and AYP are
          > > oppressive, and are frustrated by legislative foot-dragging, here
          > are
          > > three levels of nonviolent resistance that could give lawmakers a
          > > wake-up call:
          > > >
          > > > 1. Cooperative resistance: In the spirit of parents getting
          > more
          > > involved in their children's education (something the pols say they
          > > want, right?)-- If massive numbers of parents exercised their
          > FERPA
          > > rights to get copies of their children's test answer sheets and to
          > > review the test booklets so they can see what the answer sheets
          > mean,
          > > it would really gum up the works. It would be important for
          > teachers
          > > to support parents in making these requests.
          > > >
          > > > 2. Noncooperative resistance, low risk: If massive numbers of
          > > parents opted their children out of taking the state tests, the
          > > program would soon fizzle. Again, teachers would need to be
          > > supportive of this action, even though state law prevents them from
          > > "encouraging" it. As for threats that opting out will cause the
          > > school to lose money, there is no documented case that I'm aware of
          > > where a school has actually lost any Title 1 funds due to parent
          > opt
          > > outs.
          > > >
          > > > 3. Noncooperative resistance, high risk: If massive numbers of
          > > teachers, with strong parental and student support, declared that
          > > instead of administering the tests, they were going to teach
          > students
          > > on test days (and perhaps even invite the public to come watch
          > them do
          > > that!), we could take back our schools and fill them with the
          > positive
          > > learning communities in which people of all ages can thrive. As
          > > Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see."
          > > >
          > > > Any other ideas?
          > > > Peace,
          > > > Marilyn
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > -------------- Original message --------------
          > > > From: "Kevin Rivard" <kfrivard@>
          > > >
          > > > > Ralph,
          > > > >
          > > > > In order to understand why a parent would opt out of testing
          > their
          > > children
          > > > > you have to understand the testing and how the kids are
          > prepared
          > > for it.
          > > > >
          > > > > Some of the tests are given two weeks of preparation. This
          > means
          > > for two
          > > > > weeks lesson plans are put aside. There are only 180 days of
          > > instructional
          > > > > education in a school year. If each test takes an average of
          > one
          > > week of
          > > > > preparation and there are four tests a year and the tests can
          > take
          > > up to
          > > > > three days to give then there are a total of six weeks of test
          > > giving just
          > > > > for the State and Federal mandates. That is just for the
          > students.
          > > Then you
          > > > > figure in the Staff development days needed for the teachers
          > and
          > > aides and
          > > > > volunteers to be trained in how to give the tests prepare the
          > > tests for
          > > > > correction and you have, a total of two months of distraction,
          > of
          > > the six
          > > > > months your child is in school.
          > > > >
          > > > > But the real kicker is the schools are doing the testing
          > primarily
          > > not to
          > > > > find out where each student is but to keep the Federal dollars
          > > flowing into
          > > > > the schools. This district's plan while Gloria was in charge
          > was
          > > to focus
          > > > > attention on about the lower middle student, educationally
          > > speaking. The
          > > > > district resources were given to those students because by
          > raising
          > > that
          > > > > groups test scores the district could raise the overall scores
          > > enough to
          > > > > keep the low performing schools out of the levels that would
          > cause
          > > a State
          > > > > takeover. In other words the testing became a manipulation of
          > the
          > > original
          > > > > reasons for the tests and was not being used for the good of
          > all the
          > > > > students. The lower level and upper level students were being
          > > abandoned in
          > > > > the hopes of raising the students scores that could help beat
          > the
          > > system.
          > > > >
          > > > > If parents continue to allow this testing to go on without some
          > > sort of
          > > > > protest then the lower level kids and the upper level kids will
          > > continue to
          > > > > suffer from the loss of the two months taken away from their
          > general
          > > > > education time that is taken up by testing, who's main reason
          > has
          > > now become
          > > > > keeping the Federal dollars flowing.
          > > > >
          > > > > There is a way to test students individually that does what you
          > > suggest
          > > > > without taking away from the general education time. It was
          > done
          > > while my
          > > > > daughter was at Richmond High and it was successful. However,
          > it was
          > > > > torpedoed by downtown administration in favor of the above
          > testing
          > > > > manipulation.
          > > > >
          > > > > The tests to support NCLB are different in every state so to
          > say
          > > you can
          > > > > compare your child with other students because of these tests
          > is a
          > > fallacy.
          > > > > Not only are each States tests different, the way each county
          > and
          > > each
          > > > > district prepares their students is different. The way each
          > > teacher gives
          > > > > the test is different. Slight nuances, coaching, preparation,
          > how
          > > the school
          > > > > notifies parents and encourages parental participation, all
          > these
          > > reasons
          > > > > make a huge difference. When my daughter was in Independent
          > > elementary
          > > > > school the teacher gave the tests and went around to each
          > student and
          > > > > suggested they check answers. Had I not been in the room I
          > would
          > > not have
          > > > > seen that. What other teachers do in their rooms influence
          > > outcomes and
          > > > > therefore are not necessarily objective.
          > > > >
          > > > > The educational delivery system is broken and needs to be
          > fixed. But
          > > > > starting with testing and working backwards is not a solution
          > that
          > > I believe
          > > > > will help the students. We need to define what we want
          > education
          > > to be,
          > > > > create a delivery system to meet that definition and then
          > create
          > > tests that
          > > > > will validate that definition.
          > > > >
          > > > > Right now there is no clear definition of education so there
          > can
          > > never be a
          > > > > test to validate this illusionary target we call an educated
          > student.
          > > > >
          > > > > Kevin
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > > >From: "bedwellr"
          > > > > >Reply-To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
          > > > > >To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
          > > > > >Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: Too Many Tests?
          > > > > >Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 03:27:10 -0000
          > > > > >
          > > > > >Students may opt out at parental request, but I've never
          > understood
          > > > > >why a parent would not want their child to take them. Taking
          > the
          > > test
          > > > > >will (a) help parents know where their child stands in
          > relation to
          > > > > >other students in their same grade; b) help teachers and
          > > adminstrators
          > > > > >know what strategies to use to best help that child in their
          > > education
          > > > > >in the near future; and (c) help keep the child's school off
          > the
          > > > > >failing schools list. The test is free and valuable for all
          > > > > >concerned; I would never consider having my kids sit out the
          > test!
          > > > > >
          > > > > >Ralph
          > > > > >
          > > > > >--- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Marilyn Langlois
          > > > > > wrote:
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Dear Linda--
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > The California Ed Code gives parents the right to opt their
          > > children
          > > > > >out of
          > > > > > > the STAR test. All you have to do is give the principal a
          > > brief written
          > > > > > > note to that effect.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Last Friday and Saturday I attended a conference at Cal
          > State
          > > Fresno on
          > > > > > > Critical Literacy and High Stakes Testing. Here's
          > something I
          > > > > >learned there
          > > > > > > that parents might find useful:
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > According to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy
          > > Act), your
          > > > > >child's
          > > > > > > test answer sheet is an "education record" that you have a
          > > right to get
          > > > > > > access to. FERPA furthermore requires schools to respond to
          > > reasonable
          > > > > > > requests for explanations and interpretations of those
          > records,
          > > > > >which means
          > > > > > > school staff would have to show you the test question
          > booklet
          > > to explain
          > > > > > > what your child's answer sheet means.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > In other words, come summer, when test scores arrive in
          > the mail,
          > > > > >you can
          > > > > > > find out what those numbers actually mean, by exercising
          > your
          > > right
          > > > > >to see
          > > > > > > specifically which questions your child got right and
          > wrong.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > Marilyn
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > From: "Linda"
          > > > > > > > Reply-To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
          > > > > > > > Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 05:42:59 -0000
          > > > > > > > To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
          > > > > > > > Subject: [wccusdtalk] Too Many Tests?
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > In a Thursday packet from our school it said: State
          > Testing
          > > begins
          > > > > >April 11th.
          > > > > > > > I heard the
          > > > > > > > School District is giving 9 tests to our kids this year!
          > Does
          > > > > >someone know
          > > > > > > > what the latest
          > > > > > > > tests are? And how do I opt out of my child having to
          > take all
          > > > > >these tests?
          > > > > > > > And where is
          > > > > > > > this info going to?
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > I also heard that some of these test records are stored
          > > online by
          > > > > >some company
          > > > > > > > and that
          > > > > > > > potentially others can access this info on your child.
          > Does
          > > anyone
          > > > > >know more
          > > > > > > > about this?
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > I tried to look up this info on the District Site, which
          > is not
          > > > > >working.
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > Curious,
          > > > > > > > Llnda
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > >
          > > > > >
          > > > > >
          > > > > >
          > > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > >
          > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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          >
          >
          > Tammera (Tammy) E. Campbell
          > Pinole CARE
          > Pinole Valley High Safety Chair
          > Pinole Valley High School Boosters
          > Pinole Middle School Site Council President
          > Pinole Middle School Measure D Committee
          > 2668 Alhambra Way
          > Pinole, CA 94564
          > Home: 510-223-3857
          > Work: 510-486-4460
          > Fax: 510-222-4643
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          > Email: Tammera.Campbell@...
          >
          > Following are contacts for other email lists to consider joining:
          > Ellerhorst Elementary School: ellerhorst_etree@...
          > Collins Elementary School: alisoncrooks@...
          > Pinole Middle School: Tammera.Campbell@...
          > Pinole Valley High School: mikewitz2@...
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