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March 10, 2014

Suspended for No Legitimate Reason

Cindy A. Rose

I recently filed an emergency petition with the Circuit Court here in Frederick County. What horrible thing was being perpetrated on me and mine that moved me to such drastic – if not costly – a measure?


I wanted my 12-year-old daughter to be educated. Yep, that’s all. Well, I wanted her to be educated but not subjected to the Maryland State Assessments tests.


Who would have ever thought that would require a judge to decide? Apparently, in Frederick County, it does. For 14 days I’ve had to argue with Frederick County Public Schools to let my child into her school so she could receive her constitutionally protected right to a public education. For the record, I am not the only Frederick County parent going through this. There are other parents who have been similarly told their child cannot come to school unless they take the Maryland State Assessments.


Test or Stay Home! Is that the “Promise of a Public Education?”


The Constitution of Maryland – Article VIII – Education Section 1, reads:


“The General Assembly, at its First Session after the adoption of this Constitution, shall by Law establish throughout the State a thorough and efficient System of Free Public Schools; and shall provide by taxation, or otherwise, for their maintenance.”


Knowing it’s a constitutional right and that “no law” or regulation requires my child “must take” a test, why then was Frederick County Public Schools so adamant that my daughter take the Maryland State Assessments? The usual culprit would be money and the fear of disciplinary action for not meeting achievement benchmarks.


However, that is not the case with this year’s Maryland State Assessments. Then, again, it may be the case; it depends on who at the Maryland State Department of Education you speak with. According to some, this year’s assessments are meaningless. According to others it may still be scored and could be detrimental to our teachers.


Our students this year were not taught the information on the traditional yearly assessment. The new, controversial, rightfully despised Common Core State Standards were fully implemented this school year and that’s what they have been learning. The Maryland State Assessments, however, are not aligned to those standards.


If some are correct, teachers and schools will be judged unfairly on their performance and achievement. If the others are correct it’s an exercise in futility, a waste of money and just plain old cruel.


Testing is so important to Frederick County Public Schools and the State of Maryland that they are strong-arming and intimidating parents into participating in a test that not only means nothing for their child, but could penalize their schools.


It wasn’t until I filed an emergency petition that Frederick County Public Schools was willing to agree to let my daughter in school, not be tested (nor offered the test), receive course work and be able to go to classes when the testing time was over.


Why? Why must receiving an education in Frederick County or Maryland be so hard? You are reading this on my daughter’s 14th day in exile. I hope by the end of this day we will have come to a decision and my daughter will be in school on Tuesday.


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