FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. – She’s mad as heck and she’s not taking it anymore.
“When I told them (the Frederick County Public Schools) ‘no, she’s not taking it,’ they weren’t going to let her in school to learn. So I filed an injunction at that time…so the school let her back in school.” The suit is ongoing.
Now she wants to opt her special needs son, Ben, out of the tests, which is Common Core’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
“This test offends me because I think this test is abusive to special needs children,” Rose tells EAGnews. “My son has the abilities of a six to 18-month-old (although chronologically he’s a fourth grader) depending on what you’re trying to get him to do. He still diapers. He can’t walk. He can’t communicate. They want him to analyze bar graphs and draw pictures. He can’t do any of that.”
She says Ben will never achieve a diploma and he will always require care. He needs to learn life skills, not math and reading.
“He needs to learn how to wash or tell you when he’s hungry, or when he’s hurt or if he needs something. That what his education needs to be.”
But she says the state allows teachers to condition her son enough to where they can get the results they’re looking for, which takes six months.
Rose says the law in Maryland only states the test must be created, administered and offered. There is no requirement that students take it.
“The standardized testing is a huge problem and this makes the antipathy toward Common Core really a nonpartisan issue. The teachers hate it and the parents hate it and the students hate it. The Common Core is joined at the hip with these standardized tests that are going to be dictating everything, controlling not only the curriculum, but controlling the methods of instruction and controlling teacher evaluations.” Robbins says teachers are worried about the evaluations and they should be.
Rose has difficulty understanding why they’ve allowed her daughter to opt out but not Ben even though they’re in the same school district. They’re not a family of means but she has raised the $2,500 to retain a lawyer. She says she contacted numerous nonprofit legal organizations. They turned her down, not because she doesn’t have a case, but because they don’t have the time. Rose believes this will take years to litigate.
“What I want is a court to declare that in the state of Maryland there is no law that says these children must take these tests,” she says.
Robbins says there is a huge opt-out movement going on across the country “that is exploding,” but she says the laws vary from state to state. However, she notes in most states parents can probably opt out because most states don’t have a law that says children have to take the test.
“You will have state department of education say, ‘Well of course they have to take the test.’” Then they will cite some statute that says the state must administer the test. It doesn’t say that students must take it.
Rose says she and her lawyer will have a hearing. She’s hoping that her case will go forward and not be dismissed for lack of merit. She says if she’s successful every child in Maryland would benefit.