Citizens Rally At Leg Hall In Support Of HB 50

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, “ 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.”

Read the entire bill:

12 thoughts on “Citizens Rally At Leg Hall In Support Of HB 50”

  1. Th e real deal is that common core it’s a disaster for a majority of children. Smarter balanced assessment makes it worse. There are a few accommodations for the disabled, Minorities are ignored. Career students are undermined. High flyers are limited.

    One standard can never fit all.

  2. Well stated in one paragraph, Real Deal. Many people spotted the new Midlantic Dispatch reporters and were willing to be interviewed.
    There, were the hearts and minds of parents that are deeply concerned for their children’s education or lack thereof. Click the site and read local news from the Mid-Atlantic region.

  3. Let’s just eliminate all tests. Including for lawyers, doctors, engineers and pilots. They are “unfair” and “culturally biased,” and a burden on our precious students.

  4. Questions about the value of state standard testing and the Common Core curriculum program abounded:

    When does preoccupation with state testing interfere with real learning?

    How does mandatory state testing effect students with special needs?

    Why are vocational / technical students being distracted from their courses because of state testing and Common Core?

    Are students, teachers and the general public truly being served by increased state testing?

    Do a handful of private educational corporations and special interests have inordinate influence over Delaware’s educational system at public expense?

    What are the implications for the future of Delaware?

  5. Actually Rick, testing done properly is a way to overcome cultural biases. The point is that tests made from one perspective may not be.

    An example, people in East Asia learn Math in a different way than common core. Should everything be completely wrong because they get to the right answer a different way? Some areas of the country prefer passive voice, others active. Both are correct. Should people have a cultural war waged against them in testing?

    Hot button issues like evolution should be according to x. Demand the universe started y way and you have issues. There is no consensus even among evolutionists but we act as if there is.

    Proper validation ensures that testing goes after the facts not preferences of whomever made it.

  6. As a student who’s supposed to test after break, I completely oppose the smarter balance tests. I would think that the right answer should be just that, and kids who think outside the box or can just figure out the answers shouldn’t be punished due to their mindset. I had to take a practice test for smarter balance in my math class, and many kids were confused by the questions. This is an Honors class, and it took an unreasonably long time. We weren’t allowed to use our own calculators or the school’s because some kid somewhere might not have one. I understand fair treatment, but that’s not fair. It’s like starving children because a child in Africa is hungry. The virtual calculator on Smarter Balance always blocks part of the question and it’s not the same layout as ones we’ve been using for the last three or more years.
    I’ve heard that professors have gotten the right answers in subjects they’re experts at, yet they were marked as incorrect. The problems are far from few.
    What makes this worse is that I was told by my teachers that we’d miss four and a half hours of instruction for each class we must take the test for. Due to such a enormous loss in time and a requirement for a certain amount of summative scores (tests, projects and other time consuming activities) teachers are forced to give us even more tests with less preparation. There’s many activities teachers have planned for reviews or other vital things that have been stripped from us.
    Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment really worth the loss in preparation for students throughout the country?

  7. Rebecca
    Thank you for your well-reasoned argument against “smarter balanced tests.” There are not many of us that are older that can know from experience what today’s students are going through.

    Good job on the comment! I don’t care how you wrote it. All I care about is that you got the right answer.

  8. It takes the joy out of learning. If learning is joy, then original discovery is ecstasy. Preoccupation with standardized testing will severely discourage innovation, creativity , reason and independent thought.

    Apparently people learn in spite of the educational system — not because of it.

    Bureaucracy and centralization generally run counter to free thought and creativity….

  9. Actually Rick, testing done properly is a way to overcome cultural biases. The point is that tests made from one perspective may not be.

    An example, people in East Asia learn Math in a different way than common core. Should everything be completely wrong because they get to the right answer a different way?

    Two things. First of all, Asians as a group score highest in standardized tests. This tends to contradict the “culturally biased” excuse used by other minorities for their dismal performance. After all, in their homelands, many Asians use chopsticks, may not have TV, revere their elders and have an alien form of writing and language. The cultural rift is vast, yet they do well.

    Secondly, all that matters is that the answer is correct. I am against Common Core because of the forced methodology- they deem a correct process with an incorrect answer as being productive. It is not. All that matters is that 2 + 2 = 4.

    “Culturally biased” and “my child doesn’t test well” are cop-outs for failure. The solution is to study harder; as a result you’ll know the answers.

  10. Thanks Mr. Ayotte,
    And Rick, you really should be correct here. People shouldn’t have to worry about minorities doing bad on a test.
    Personally I’m a minority because I’m multiracial, yet all this year I’ve been on honor roll and high honor roll and do great at majority of tests.
    You have a view that honestly just makes sense, sadly our federal government often doesn’t rule in favor of solutions that make sense.
    The fact is that we already have so many tests that it’s overwhelming. I’ve had teachers pile on assignments before spring break so they can get the amount of grades in required because we don’t have the time to. In every one of my classes I have a quarterly, in many of them I also have a pretest and post test (to my understanding the state looks at both, at the least the schools do). We also have a requirement of five summatives per class, most teachers just gives us tests instead of projects because it’s faster to get them finished. So if I just had 2 tests for all of my classes besides core (such as math and science) that’d be 8 tests. I realistically get four at the least in core classes, so that’d be 16. That’s twenty four tests. Add 8 more because each class has a quarterly (some kids may have a class like study hall and not have one though). That’s a total of 32 tests in a quarter which is roughly two and a half months. (I didn’t include pre and post tests because not all classes do them and it greatly varies from person to person).
    I know some kids who have told me they get tests in some subjects every week. The fact is we’re beyond tested enough. Why are we taking pre and post tests if smarter balanced is supposed to be so great? Or maybe a better question, why don’t we just let teachers teach and evaluate knowledge through completed classwork and the occasional tests.
    Kids don’t need to stress out over tests so intensely, it takes the fun out of learning and with how often they’re testing us, it’s not hard to argue that they’re even preventing us from learning.

  11. Asians do better, not on all tests. In fact some where found to be based against them recently. This particular test would be one. Testing has to be objective to be valid. You have to field test it many times to accomplish this.

    For years some claimed that Blacks scored lower than Whites on I Q tests the results closed when more Blacks received northern education. The northern Blacks scored higher than Southern Whites. Why? Cultural biases.

    The real deal is that one can claim a test is meaningful, but until one shows it by statistical validation, it is empty rhetoric.

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