A Massachusetts mom has been calling and emailing everyone she can think of to get an answer to whether her eighth grade daughter is allowed to opt out of the field test for Common Core tests this spring. She is, but school leaders at Hastings Middle School in Fairhaven have refused to let the girl opt out. Initially, school authorities told her the tests would be in May. Then, on Wednesday, she learned the test would be today.
Several more emails ensued, during which administrators said the young lady would be required to sit in front of the testing screen with her classmates and enter and do nothing for the three hours the test took to administer. The student has a perfect attendance record she and her mother did not want to mar by keeping her home today. Last night, Michelle Furtado wrote this final letter to her daughter’s school, and gave me permission to publish it.
April 11, 2014
To Whom it may concern,
My daughter, Laurie Furtado, politely refuses the opportunity to participate in the PARCC field test, (the PBA, EOY, GMO, PMS, or whatever you are calling it today.) She has been instructed to follow her teacher’s directions as to how the “sit and stare” policy is enforced.
She is a sensitive girl. And therefore, she may shed tears from being singled out (and because while she’s sitting there doing nothing, she’s missing instruction and a test in another subject.) Please hand her a tissue. Do not call me to pick her up. In no way do I want to give administrators the satisfaction of telling the [Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] that she wasn’t present. Her attendance is of utmost importance to both of us.
I hope she learns from the “sit and stare” experience, that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger.
If my request has not been made clear, or I need to provide further documentation of my decision to have her refrain from testing, please let me know. Otherwise I am out of the office for the day.
Image by Maureen Sill.