May 15th, Opting Out Update-Again

Wow.  I. Am. So. Tired.

Just this morning I was dropping off my kids at school and reflecting at how calm life had finally become.  I felt the coming of a lovely plateau where the wind barely stirred.  A resting point.  For a single parent, these moments are rare.  Oh, how rare!

If you look at the previous posting you can see how my day went.  I wouldn’t say it was awful actually.  But it was anything but relaxing.  It is late and I will basically sum up here because I feel like falling over with sleep.  The crux is that Zoe has been informed that if she refuses to take the MSLs that she will be not allowed to remain in school.  She has been told that when she returns she will be given the test and if she refuses she will be sent home once again.

We uploaded our video.  We spent the whole day emailing people we thought may be helpful.  And we had a pleasant surprise.  MANY parents from all over America wrote in with lots of validating and valuable things to say.  The best part is that Zoe received very much needed encouragement from adults besides her mother and I.  When parent’s and school teachers are writing in with supportive commentary, Zoe knows she is on the right track.  We have learned so much more about the bind these school’s are in and the way legislation is strangling them.  The way they have treated Zoe, reflects precisely the way the Common Core has treated true education…it has told it to stay out of school.  My heart goes out to school boards, teachers and school admininstrators caught in this.  But again, if there isn’t a large scale movement that happens at once, we will just be a bunch of nail heads to get individually knocked down or forgotten.  It needs to be a big deal and whole school districts must land on the same page for this kind of thing to work.  Zoe and I also finally feel like we have the impetus to really get behind the Boycott idea we have had.

I have to get to bed.  But here is the copy of the letter I sent to the school principal this evening…and I thank the many people who have helped with all their support today…you gave a brave 11 year old tons of hope that maybe the world IS a supportive place to be.

Dear (Principal),
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 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.