State of confusion or state DOE?

Another response came in today from the state Department of Education.

I have been asked to respond to the e-mail you submitted to NCLB Accountability on the Department’s Web site. In your e-mail, you inquired about the repercussions of not allowing your daughter to participate in NCLB testing.

NCLB testing exists in response to the State’s Education Reform Act of 1993 and federal laws and regulations that require schools to provide all students with instruction in the core academic content areas of English language arts, mathematics, science and technology/engineering, and history and social science. The intent is to help ensure all students, including students with disabilities, are given every available opportunity to learn and demonstrate growth even if their progress is limited. Your daughter’s IEP team should determine how she will participate in NCLB. If the team agrees that your daughter is not able to participate in paper-and-pencil NCLB testing, she may still be able to participate in the alternate exam. As a member of your daughters IEP team, you help to determine how she will participate in NCLB. Participation in the exam would allow the school to submit evidence of the kind of instruction your daughter receives each day throughout the year and her response to the instruction. I want to assure you that participation in the alternate testing will not require your daughter to do anything she does not do every day at school.

It is the responsibility of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to make both parents and educators aware of the right of all children to a free and appropriate education and access to the curriculum. The repercussions of refusing to allow your daughter to have an exam portfolio created for her would fall on the school. Her non-participation would be counted against the school’s student participation rate, which is reported to the federal Department of Education.

Thank you,

This is interesting in several ways. The woman who sent the email is the Coordinator for the portfolio type of exam, for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the state’s DOE. The question, as she mentions in her opening paragraph was simply, “what are the reprocussions if I do not allow my daughter to take the NCLB exam.” Her answer is in the last sentence, the rest is, um, a smoke screen?  

The repercussions of refusing to allow your daughter to have an exam portfolio created for her would fall on the school.

Also, extremely important, she says ” … of refusing to allow …” and that means that IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFUSE TO ALLOW my daughter to be tested.

The other day, I was told:

It is not legal for a parent to refuse to have their child participate in NCLB testing. However unlikely in your circumstances, the school and the district may enforce truancy laws and/or disciplinary action for unauthorized absences.

by a gentleman from the Accountability and Target Assistance, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

So, which is it? Do the “repercussions of refusing to allow your daughter … fall on the school.” or “the school and district may enforce truancy laws and/or disciplinary action …” Who gets the repercussions? The school or me or my daughter? The DOE obviously has no clue.

Here is the response I sent to the woman at the DOE:

Thank you very much for the information.

The only brief response I want to pass on to your email is about your sentence:

I want to assure you that participation in the alternate testing will not require your daughter to do anything she does not do every day at school.

The difference is, during non-participating time (i.e., when the test is not being conducted or to rephrase, when she is not being observed with the testing in mind) she most likely is very frustrated when asked to do something that she cannot do but she understands the request. During the time she is participating in the alternate testing she is not only very frustrated that she cannot do the action requested, but to add to the frustration is the anxiety, the angst, and the horrible realization that she is being tested and this “counts” for something, and she cannot do it. That puts her in a horrendous position.

It is good to know that the repercussions of her not taking the exam fall on the school, not the family.

Again, thank your for your time and the response.

One Response to “State of confusion or state DOE?”

  1. […] testing will not require your daughter to do anything she does not do every day at school. Mass DOE HOWEVER, given the information you have given me, I do not see why your daughter should ever need […]

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