Day 2-Responsibility

Update…still trying to find a way for Zoe to be in school.  To that end I sent the following email yesterday to the school Principal:

“Ms. Scott,
Currently  we are all set to send her to school…read below…but want to wait until the school is clear about how to handle her being there properly and respectfully.  We are happy to give you all one more day to realize that Zoe’s rights as a student…and my rights as a taxpayer are being marginalized. 

I can’t imagine the kind of pressure you must be under from the school board and I am sorry that in this struggle to rid ourselves of bad policy, that you find yourself in the middle.  I am also in the middle.  So is Zoe.  Between the three of us, only one has their education at stake.  And since you, as a principal and I as a parent, are dedicated to her education…there really is only one clear choice.

Basically what I gather is this…the people at school are under threat and behaving this way because they fear for their jobs.  They are responding to a law that forces them to administer a test.  But there is not a law that can force a student to take this test.

The law requiring testing also directly conflicts with parent’s rights and asking Zoe to leave school conflicts with the school’s obligation to provide an education to taxpayers.

So, having Zoe go to school and continue to refuse to test is her legal right, no matter what the district lawyers may say.  Zoe is just the first student in this district to do this apparently so the school is scrambling to find a measured and fair response.

Zoe is planning on returning to school on Thursday to resume her studies as a straight A student and top performer at McDougle Middle School..as a student who normally tests out at 99% on standardized assessments.  As I have said before, this argument isn’t between you and I.  It is about the people who would pressure you to exclude such a student simply for exercising her choices and rights to refuse to take a test that is not even linked to her GPA.  You said in your email that Zoe’s choices hurt the school and the teachers.  No ma’am, that isn’t so.  Policy that removes a free thinking student like Zoe from school hurts schools and teachers.

I will be unavailable tomorrow from approximately 10-3.  But I do hope to sign back in and read that there is an all clear for Zoe to resume her studies on Thursday.”

Today I received her response which is posted below:

“I’m sorry , I was in a district Leadership Meeting all day yesterday.
I appreciate  your working with Zoe on civil disobedience. I’m not sure others feel the way you think, but know you are hurting her teachers and McDougle by withholding her excellent scores.

That being said, I feel a better lesson would be taking her to Raleigh on the days she should be testing and/or making up tests to let her talk to the state government as a real-life lesson.
 We cannot allow her to sit for three hours in the testing environment and she could be talking to those in power.

Do you need a testing schedule again?”

My response to this exchange, written here, just to clear my head is as follows…

A very close friend used to tell me that “the more responsible you are, the freer you are.”  I really didn’t like this phrase.  When I realized it didn’t mean doing more of what you hated doing, I began becoming freer.  Literally, what are we responsible for?  When we apply this only to things that we have to do, it feels heavy and cumbersome. When we apply this to doing things that are the responsible things to do…it sets us free.  In this case, as a Principal, the responsible thing to do is to stand up for the student and stand against a policy that hurts teachers and education.  The responsible thing to is not to claim that I am hurting the school and teachers.  Common Core Standards harm the state of education.  The situation I am currently in, is a prime example of what is happening to education in our country.  When else in history has a student been barred from attending school because they will not take a test that wasn’t even written by the teachers there?  Zoe and her family are not against education.  As far as I can see, this policy has nothing to do with education.  There is an organized group behind the Common Core being applied.  They are, quite literally, responsible for harming education.  They are suffocating learning and just about every educator knows it.  But in terms of responsibility, at what point do we stop blaming them for doing it to us…and take responsibility for not letting them do it to us.  If they never asked us our permission…why bother asking them to stop?  Just take responsibility and stop.  Opt Out.  And if your Principal claims that a young student is harming education by not adhering to a law that is corrupt…make sure to remind them that you are actually trying to save Education…not harm it.  Because Education is under attack…you are just trying to actually be responsible enough to save it.  The more responsible you are…the freer we all are.  Send NCLB, Race to the Top and Common Core out of schools…instead of sending kids out of schools.

Oh…and tomorrow…my daughter is going to school.  Because legally, no Principal has the right to bar her entrance and attendance.  I will keep you posted.

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