Opt-outrageous

So unless you've been in solitary confinement you know it's ISAT week, or weeks, and that CPS schools are the present battleground in the revolution against testing corporations being staged by parents and teachers.

Parents, desiring to regain control of their schools and remove the endless string of standardized testing that structures curriculum, are choosing to skip one of these tests this year, the retired, no-stakes ISAT. CPS has responded in a way that can best be characterized as psychotic: swinging from one directive to another; invoking ISBE's incoherent insistence that an ISAT refusal is illegal; and threatening opt-out schools with de-accreditation.

And parents respond, naturally, by opting out more.

It's appropriate for this battle to be waged now. It's appropriate for parents to be the fighters.

It's not appropriate for children to be pushed into the battle.

I've heard some early reports from the opt-out front. Heavy network pressure seems to have affected a few schools. I'm wondering what you think, fellow citizens. I won't take much of your time today. I just have a question. You tell me. Tell me if these scenarios are anywhere within the range of appropriate:

There's the school where kids were told their parents' opt-out letters had forged signatures and so were not legitimate.

There's the school where the principal asked each opting-out child one-on-one to tell him in their own words if they still intended to refuse the test.

There's the school where teachers were told that opt-out letters of parents who hadn't met with the network chief would not be honored and their children were compelled to take the test.

Opt-out kids at several schools were compelled to remain in testing classrooms, receive a test, listen to the directions, break its seal and write their names in each section.

One opt-out kid had to stay in the testing classroom and was not allowed to read a book until after the first child was finished with the test.

Some opt-outers were being denied bathroom breaks during the test. Others were refused the after-test treats, which were only for testing kids.

Then there were the opt-out kids with IEPs whose special services were suspended in a twilight zone somewhere during testing. No plans made for alternate service plans. No communication from the school to the parent. Because of testing, kids with IEPs might sit in the auditorium for two weeks, told to be quiet and still. (Good thing the ISAT only lasts two weeks, because an IEP can be "disrupted" for two weeks and not be in violation of the law.)

150 opt-out letters at one school were declared invalid because they were not written on CPS stationery. All those kids were given the test.

I don't know, Chicago. You tell me.

If you want a better Chicago Public Schools system please like my Facebook page and join me there for more discussion. You can also follow me on twitter @foolforcps.

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