PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL DISTRICT TAKES DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST TEACHERS FOR INFORMING PARENTS OF THEIR OPT OUT RIGHTS AROUND HIGH STAKES TESTING
Parents at Feltonville and across the district stand in support of teachers
Dissatisfied with how standardized testing is eclipsing their children’s education, 20% of parents at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences -- with the support of teachers -- have opted their children out of standardized testing. And that number is growing despite disciplinary actions taken last week against teachers involved in informing parents of their rights.
Teachers were issued letters compelling them to attend investigatory conferences on Thursday of this week. The district move follows this City Paper article announcing that 17% of students at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences refused to take the PSSAs and other assessments. News of the action prompted Council members María Quiñones-Sánchez, Mark Squilla and Jannie Blackwell to issue a public statement of support for Feltonville families on Thursday saying “Until we put some limits on this obsession with testing students, we will see protests like that at Feltonville. We stand with families who are making the choice they believe is best for their children.”
With the recent appointment of a new Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera, Council members Quinones-Sanchez, Squilla, and Blackwell called upon the School Reform Commission to formally request a waiver for this school year, and to begin a review of the long-term strategy to reform the use of standardized testing.
“We, as parents, have a right to say no to the test”, says Heidey Contrera, the mother of 8th grader Natalie Contrera, who, having moved to Philadelphia from the Dominican Republic in 2011, is designated an English Language Learner at Feltonville. “The test is not a good measure of my daughter’s ability. It is not a fair way to judge her. And we’re not taking it.”
“Parents have the right to opt out – that is an indisputable right,” said Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, one of the groups to come out publicly in support of parents and teachers at Feltonville. “The District has an opportunity to work with parents and teachers on an issue of common gain rather than once again being on the wrong side of the table.”
News and Support:
- 2/10/15: Philly Tribune- 'Opt Out' Puts School District Teachers in Hot Water
- 2/3/15: Al Día- 'Parents have the right to opt-out but they need to be informed'
- 1/31/15: Anne Tenaglia- We Didn't Start the Fire But We Will Fan the Flames
- 1/30/15: Raging Chicken Press- Feltonville Teachers Will Not Be Silenced: Administrative Threats Lead Only to a Widening of the Fight to Stop High-Stakes Tests
- 1/29/15: Lois Weiner- Philly teachers - the kind of troublemakers who built teachers unions
- 1/28/15: LA Progressive- Parents Standing Firm Against High-Stakes Standardized Testing
- 1/28/15: Newsworks- Should Pa. require students to pass standardized tests to graduate high school?
- 1/28/15: Newsworks- One of the 'Feltonville Six' speaks up about right to opt out
- 1/28/15: Teacher Solidarity International- Principled Philadelphia Teachers Need Our Support
- 1/27/15: The Notebook- Opt-out movement reflects growing resistance to testing
- 1/27/15: Daily News- Some Feltonville middle-schoolers 'opt out' of standardized testing
- 1/27/15: Examiner- What Feltonville Taught Philly About Opt Out
- 1/26/15: The Notebook- District investigating school with 20 percent opt-out rate
- 1/26/15: Amy Roat speaks on The Rick Smith show on the opt out movement
- 1/26/15: Germantown Avenue Parents- Teachers at Feltonville Investigated for Informing Parents about Opt-out Rights
- 1/26/15: Newsworks- Philly School District Investigating Philly School with 20% Opt Out Rate
- 1/26/15: Philly Mag- Will District Slap Anti-Testing Teachers?
- 1/26/15: Philadelphia Inquirer- Time out for teachers who counseled kids to opt out of tests? (Kristin Graham)
- 1/26/15: Diane Ravitch- Philadelphia Warns Teachers of Disciplinary Action if They Inform Parents of Opt-Out Rights
- 1/26/15: Raging Chicken Press- #PhlEd: Phila. School District Taking Actions Against Teachers for Informing Parents about Opting Out
- 1/25/15: Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools- The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools Supports the Families and Teachers of Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences
- 1/23/15: Al Día News- Philly puts standardized testing to the test
- 1/22/15: Parents United for Public Education- We support the right to opt-out
- 1/22/15: Amy Roat, Caucus of Working Educators Steering Committee Member and Feltonville PFT Building Rep. interviews on the Rick Smith show
- 1/22/15: Maria Quiñones-Sanches- Councilwoman Quiñones-Sánchez & Others Express Support for Families ‘Opting Out’ of Standardized Testing in Feltonville
- 1/22/15: Philadelphia City Paper- Council Members Back Anti-Testing Revolt
- 1/21/15: Philadelphia City Paper- Feltonville Arts and Sciences Students Posed to Quit Testing En Masse