Thursday, March 5, 2015

Student Suspended After Handing Out Standardized Testing Opt-Out Forms

Santa Fe, NM- An eighth grader said that she was suspended last week after school staff found her handing out standardized testing opt-out forms to fellow students.
Adelina Silva, a student at Capshaw Middle School in Santa Fe, told KRQE that she was handing out opt-out forms that are available on the school district’s website. Silva said that she took this action because she wanted parents of her classmates to know that there was an opportunity to opt out of the testing. “My goal here was to just let the parents know that they have the option,” she said.
The online test Silva was referring to is an assessment from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and is commonly known as the PARCC test. The assessment is described by PARCC as a way to “measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.”
The PARCC test has been met with opposition from parents and students across the country, including those in New Mexico. Hundreds of students in Albuquerque have challenged the testing this week by walking out of school and organizing protests. New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera supports the PARCC test and said it “takes the necessary step of raising expectations.”
Silva said that school staff intervened while she was handing out the opt-out forms. “They started pulling the fliers out from the kids’ hands,” she said. Silva said that she was then taken to the principal’s office where she waited for over an hour. Jacqueline Ellvinger, Silva’s mother, told KRQE that her daughter was suspended for one day.
“I was very upset when I heard this,” Ellvinger said. “Parents need to know that this form is online and they are able to opt their children out of it.” Ellvinger also had her son opt out of taking the test.
The Santa Fe school district claims that no students have been disciplined for opposing the testing, and released a statement saying that “Santa Fe Public Schools supports a parent’s right to opt his or her child out of state-mandated standardized testing… no students in the district have been disciplined for supporting or promoting this district policy of a parent’s right to opt their child out of testing.”

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