Saturday, August 30, 2014

BATs Support Lee County Florida in Decision to Opt Out 




Dear Editor :

Regarding Lee County School Board decision to opt out of high stakes, state tests: 

I am the parent of a fifth grader in Lee County. I am also an 8th grade Language Arts teacher for the district. 

During public comments at the Wednesday night's Lee County School Board Meeting, a speaker said, "Seize the day." I agree. 

We have waited long for this day. We have fought long and hard to end the over testing of our kids. This was not a rushed decision. Parents from every walk of life, every political group, have been going to school board meetings for years. 

Two years ago, Lee County School Board was one of the first in the nation to sign onto a resolution opposing high stakes testing. Mrs. Dozier, among others, carried the resolution to our state school board and fought for its passing. She was successful and we thank her. Our parent groups, locally and statewide, have tried with our representatives and senators. We have lobbied, written emails, called, tweeted, even created meme ... with no response. 

I myself traveled to the Network for Public Education National Conference. I was there when Diane Ravitch called for congressional hearings. We have tried. But, our leaders in Tallahassee and DC. refuse to listen. 

So now it is our time to refuse. It is our obligation as parents and caretakers to refuse these toxic tests. The is no more time to wait. It is time to get comfortable being uncomfortable. 

Lee County School Board and Superintendent Graham, we are here to support you as you do what is right for our children. We are here to say we need you. You are our hard hitters. We elected you. You are our last line of defense in defending our children and it is your moral imperative to do so. 

You made the decision to opt us out of state high stakes assessments. That was the right choice. Now, let's get proactive in creating a program of portfolio assessments. Let's outline the possibilities of using concordant scores.

Let's give our Lee County families and employees a sense of hope not gloom. The whole world is watching. Here is your chance to be world class. 

After all, it is what the parents want. Ask them, most will tell you they were planning to opt out anyway. Why make it be our parents and our children who have to take a stand. Why force an opting out child to sit, humiliated, through a five hour test, day after day, during test month? Let's stand up for them. 

So, no more waiting, please. No more waffling back and forth wondering. No more hoping someone else will fix this. Let's find a way. No amount of money is worth this. Our children are not numbers and education is not about property values. This is not about 'Flipping Lee'... This is about the kids. Focus on our kids. 

Bonnie Cunard Margolin, parent & teacher, Wear Red for Ed

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