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October 26, 2015

Explaining – and Continuing – “The Fight”

Cindy A. Rose

Have you ever been severely let down in your life? Have you so utterly misjudged the character of a person that you became physically ill? Minus becoming physically ill, but getting pretty darn close, I recently have.


The Frederick County Board of Education decided it would affirm Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban’s decision that avoided answering the question: “Do parents have a right to refuse” standardized tests for their children. Their consensus was: “They must administer the assessments.” In short, we may not speak for our children even if they are physically incapable of speaking for themselves.


Let that last sentence seep in.


I don’t take this lightly and I am urging you not to as well. I believed there were “fighters” on our school board. I believed they would put parent and student rights above protecting an evasive decision made by the Frederick County Public Schools superintendent.


I believed they would affirm the right they said we had over and over again during my hearing on this very question before them.


I thought these were the members who would lead the charge to bring back “local control.” They don’t have it in them. It takes real leaders with courage, not people who hide behind non-existent laws, rules and regulations, muttering “it takes time.” Aren’t you tired of hearing that?


They hid behind laws that don’t exist instead of being on the front lines of a movement to save public education. Instead, they elected to save the superintendent.


They’ve chosen their sides, and I hope with the upcoming elections you will choose yours wisely.


Only Dr. April Miller had the courage to stand up and recognize parents have rights, disabled students have the right to be treated the same as non-disabled students and there aren’t any laws to the contrary.


If they were going to hang their hats on “ambiguity,” they could have at least had the fortitude to step up and fix it within a “locally controlled” policy. There is no ambiguity. The Maryland State Department of Education told Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) that it was up to them to decide how to handle those who refuse the testing. Ask me for the documents; unlike FCPS I won’t redact them before giving them to you.


That’s right, when asked for the communications between FCPS and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), FCPS redacted the e-mails from Assistant Superintendent Henry Johnson stating it was up to FCPS how to handle it. I had to get un-redacted copies from MSDE.


In the upcoming days, weeks and months, you are going to hear a lot of excuses being made about why the ruling went this way.


The bottom line is this: our school board had the ability to write a policy saying “we recognize our duty and obligation to administer and offer these assessment; we also realize students and parents have a right to refuse these tests.” It’s that hard.


Don’t believe any excuse you may hear about losing funding. It’s never happened. New York had over 30,000 students or parents who refuse these tests; they are expecting hundreds of thousands to refuse this year. They never lost a dime in federal or state funding.


The 95% participation rate that the “No Child Left Behind” law requires is not to force students to test; it to restrict school systems from excluding “poor testers” to artificially raise their test averages. Apparently the feds don’t trust school systems. The law says the schools cannot exclude students. It does not say students must participate.


Documents supporting my case and my position can be found on my personal Facebook page and on my Facebook page dedicated to this case: Rose vs. Frederick County Public Schools.


Don’t believe the spin you are about to hear. FCPS likes to hide behind faux laws so it doesn’t have to make decisions it will be held accountable for.


Enough of lackluster leadership! Our leaders are submissive to their superintendent, the State of Maryland and the State Board of Education.


If you agree with the Board of Education’s decision, you are saying the county, state or federal government has the right to come into school, grab your child’s hands and make them answer test questions. That’s what you are agreeing with. That’s exactly what they did to my severely disabled son.


Dr. Miller was the only member willing to stand up and fight everything wrong in education today. In 2016 go out and find three more just as willing to fight FOR you, not AGAINST you.

Twitter: CSRose1963


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