Advocate’s parental advice?

I contacted a federation in the state that describes itself as:

The Federation is a center for parents and parent organizations to work together on behalf of children with special needs and their families.

I sent them the synopsis of my issue and asked for help in excusing my daughter from the exam. I will share the email traffic here. The email obviously rubbed me the wrong way …

Their response to my request:

Thank you for your email. I am sorry the NCLB has caused such distress for your family. Unfortunately, the NCLB is indeed the law, as has been pointed out to you.

HOWEVER, given the information you have given me, I do not see why your daughter should ever need to be involved in “testing,” in the traditional sense. In other words, she does not have to answer special questions in a testing situation. She has no need to know the NCLB exists.

The NCLB alternate exam requires your daughter’s teachers to assemble a portfolio of her work in accordance with the requirements of state curriculum standards. In assembling this portfolio, her teachers need only instruct her in the usual manner, making sure that her assignments are the ones they wish to place into the portfolio. She does not need to be told that any work is for a test. Your daughter’s work should be collected over time — during the course of the whole year, not in a rush during one week, for example. There should be no stress at all for your daughter during this process.

You can look at the educator’s guide to administering the NCLB alternate version here: [url]

I hope this is helpful.

Best regards,

xxxx

Information Specialist
Parent Training and Information

Not much help but there is one line in there that has me incensed, so I responded:

Your suggestion:

“She does not need to be told that any work is for a test.” is disturbing on several levels. The sentence says that it is a test, but do not tell your daughter.

Sorry, but my family values do not include lying or deceiving my daughter. Even if she has special needs.

Thank you for your time.

Finally, I received this:

I am sorry if you perceived my response to be advocating deception, which was certainly not my intention. Instead, I see a situation in which two parties have different and distinct interests. The interest of the state in this situation is to gather data with the intention of holding schools responsible for increasing student achievement. I perceived your interest, as expressed in your email, to be in sparing your daughter anxiety. I proposed a solution whereby both you and the state would be able to achieve your interests. My sense was that you needed an answer to your immediate problem, while you continue to advocate for your strongly held beliefs at the state level.

You have a difficult situation, and I wish you well.

Best regards,

She is still advocating deceiving my daughter to remove any anxiety or whatever. There is tremendous pressure to have photos and video included in the test. What do I tell my daughter that is about? How about we just deceive the state and make up answers and the portfolio over a beer?

One Response to “Advocate’s parental advice?”

  1. […] Why does the Massachussetts Department of Education tell untruths about the MCAS-Alt exam? 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. Mass DOE HOWEVER, given the information you have given me, I do not see why your daughter should ever need to be involved in “testing,” in the traditional sense. In other words, she does not have to answer special questions in a testing situation. She has no need to know the NCLB exists. Federation for Children with Special Needs […]

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