HB50, It’s All About The Right To Choose To Opt Out Of Testing
Co-written By Don Ayotte and Wolf von Baumgart
An Education Rally at Delaware’s Legislation Hall, drew an eager crowd of parents and children, wanting their voices heard in support of HB50. The short version of HB 50 states in the synopsis, “This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the “Smarter Balanced Assessment System.” This is a requirement of the new Common Core education system being implemented in Delaware Schools.
The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. John Kowalko (D-25) and Senate sponsor, Sen. David Lawson (R-15), along with House co-Sponsors, Reps. Baumbach (D-23), Keely (D-3),Matthews (D-10), Spiegelman,(R-11), K. Williams (D-19), Yearick (R-34) and Sen. Henry (D-2).
Kowalko stated to the crowd outside of Legislative Hall that, “Parents have a fundamental right to have their children opt out of state testing.” He referred to excessive state testing as the, “epitome of government intrusion at the expense of parents and teachers.” He further said, “we cannot allow our children to be held hostage to private concerns.” Representative Kowalko also urged that citizens oppose legislation further mandating state testing, by contacting members of the General Assembly. A House Education Committee hearing is scheduled for April 27th.
Sen. Dave Lawson, a co-sponsor of HB50 spoke to the crowd saying, “God gave you the gift of a child, he did not give it to the government.” He went on to say, in reference to General Assembly members, “If anyone fights against parental rights, they don’t deserve to be here.” State Representative Sean Lynn (D-31) also attended the Rally.
Dover City Councilman David Anderson stated, “as someone who represents a 72 percent minority district, I felt that I was obligated to speak out. This test has not been statistically normed or validated for cultural bias or minority populations. The State of Wyoming is responsible for validation. How many minorities are in Wyoming? ‘Smarter Balanced Assessment’ is potentially devastating to the people that I represent.”
According to Kowalko and Lawson, this bill is bi-partisan and has a reasonable chance to pass into law. But he cautioned, that people who support HB50 should call their legislators and tell them so.
Paul Johnston, who heads the education blogsite, “exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com said, “They are throwing away the kids with disabilities. They still have to take this test. Common Core has dropped educational standards and vocational students are being pulled out of technical courses to focus on Common Core. These technical courses could provide good blue collar jobs that would lead to living wage jobs.” Johnston further stated, “excessive testing at the expense of learning subjects competes with Vo-Tec training. It does not accurately evaluate learning skills. There is no parental or community input in a educational dictatorship.”
Scott Jones from Hartly, said of Common Core, “we are not giving our children all of the educational tools that they need. It also takes away teacher’s ability to teach subjects with flexibility, to meet the needs of their students.”
Dave Brenton of Townsend stated, “I don’t see the advantage to Common Core, there’s a lot of talk about a country-wide assessment. I expect a certified teacher to have the skill-set to assess my child. I expect the principal to have the skill-set to assess their teachers. I expect the superintendents to have the skill-set to assess their principals. Why we are building this expensive bureaucracy to make these assessments is beyond me.”
Yvonne Johnson of the Delaware PTA said, “The organization supports parents rights to have their children opt out of state testing. She wants parents to know they have options. There are no consequences for not taking the test. It’s your choice.”