imageI was alerted about a situation in South Carolina where the state educational bureaucracy have ignored parents and have put two different children’s wellbeing at risk.  At the crux of the matter is standardized testing.  Evidently children must be tested in South Carolina no matter what parents or even the medical community has to say.  Grumpy Educators reports:

Gretchen Herrera’s son has a complicated medical condition, which is exacerbated by testing regimes. His medical team recommended he not be tested as it puts his health at risk. The request was denied, Mrs. Herrera allowed testing, and after the first day of testing, his health was negatively impacted. If a parent had neglected the health and well-being of their child, they’d find themselves in court with the government stepping in to protect the child. In this case, the government is endangering the child and ignoring the parent….

…Sharon Johnson’s son has a complicated medical condition, and was treated in "an outpatient day treatment to stabilize children with severe emotional and/or behavioral problems. Among other criteria, admitted children must have demonstrated behavior serious enough to jeopardize the safety of others." Upon completion of treatment, he enrolled in public school and slated for standardized testing. In spite of a written medical recommendation that "he was mentally unable to be tested", South Carolina insists if a child can attend school, the child can be tested.

I find it amazing that educrats in South Carolina think they know better than the parents and medical professionals what is in the best interest of these children.  Parents, and parents alone, should be able to make these decisions for their children.  I doubt that South Carolina is the only place where parental rights are being trampled on.  If you know of other instances in your state, please share here.

8 comments
  1. That’s a shame.  Now, if a child is perfectly healthy, I don’t think that a parent–under normal circumstances, at least–should be able to say that they simply don’t want their kids to take standardized tests (that are paid for by the state), without having an excellent reason.  Well, the parents of both kids mentioned in your article did have excellent reasons.  For the state to trample on their rights is obscene.  I smell a lawsuit–or at least I hope I do!   😛

  2. That’s a shame.  Now, if a child is perfectly healthy, I don’t think that a parent–under normal circumstances, at least–should be able to say that they simply don’t want their kids to take standardized tests (that are paid for by the state), without having an excellent reason.  Well, the parents of both kids mentioned in your article did have excellent reasons.  For the state to trample on their rights is obscene.  I smell a lawsuit–or at least I hope I do!   😛

    1. Who should decide which reasons are excellent?  And where does the state get the money to pay for these tests?  We are all paying for these tests, in more ways than one.

      Yes, it is a very obvious shame in these two unique cases, but parents should be able to decide whether or not their children participate in the circus of high stakes testing and “teaching to the test” philosophy that led Atlanta educators to change answers on the tests.

      1. Who should decide which reasons are excellent?

        Paris Hilton?  No, seriously–that’s a good question.  🙂

        Yes, it is a very obvious shame in these two unique cases, but parents should be able to decide whether or not their children participate in the circus of high stakes testing and ‘teaching to the test’ philosophy that led Atlanta educators to change answers on the tests.

        First off, I think standardized tests are vastly overrated.  And I also despise the “teaching to the test” philosophy that many schools/teachers have.  But I think taking a test once a year isn’t necessarily a bad idea.  When I was younger, we had the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  (And we never “studied’ for the test beforehand either.)  However, if schools nowadays are making kids take standardized tests several times a year and waste time studying for them, then I would consider that excessive, and, yes, I think parents should be able to opt out.

      2. Agreed.  The name of the game has changed since I was younger.  There are weeks of state tests each year, and some states have district assessments as well, 3-4 times a year.  Some may say “Come on, it’s just a test.  What’s the big deal?”  But what they do not realize is that schools/teachers have to be preoccupied all year long with preparing for the tests.  My daughter actually had a course in 3rd grade called “test taking skills”.  The students become a number, a statistic, instead of an individual. 

        What we need is individual observation/assessments of a child’s growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  Ask a special ed teacher how he shows growth for a student.  I assure you it is not from the state test results. 

      3. There are weeks of state tests each year.

        Weeks?  Are you serious?   And sometimes in addition to multiple district assessments?  How do the kids have time to learn anything substantive when they’re so busy taking tests?  And how can one prep 3rd-graders on “test-taking skills”???  

        That’s nuts.  Yes, parents should definitely be able to opt out of that madness, with no more excuse than “the dog ate my no. 2 pencil.”  😉  Furthermore, it sounds like the kids in special ed might be learning more than the other kids!

  3. The so-called “new generation” of standardized testing begins will begin with preschoolers and will include more than one test, but several standardized tests along the way. Then the data will be stored in a state longitudinal database, from preschool to the first year of college. Under a regulation change proposed by the Sec. of Education, parent consent for accessing data needed by other government agencies and research organizations will not be necessary. Who pays? Who benefits?

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