More Than A Score is documenting cases of mistreatment of refusing students, families and teachers throughout the Chicago Public Schools and elsewhere in Illinois during PARCC testing.
Yesterday we sent the letter below to Barbara Byrd-Bennett complaining of particularly egregious, disparate treatment at schools within the same network (group that schools in CPS are organized into), in this case Network 6.
Please email us with information about testing irregularities and mistreatment (lies, intimidation, threats, bribes, etc.) aimed at suppressing refusals at schools during PARCC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Ms. Byrd-Bennett:
I am writing on behalf of More Than A Score to express my grave concerns with the treatment of refusing students and their families.
We have heard from students, parents and teachers all across CPS with stories of suppression of PARCC refusals through a variety of means.
Unfortunately, just as during the ISAT last year, there is a pattern of mistreatment and inappropriate pressure to test students refusing PARCC at some schools and not at others. We are hearing of problems concentrated within certain networks over and over again.
One of those is Network 6. The pattern of how students and parents are being treated within Network 6 strongly correlates with the socio-economic and racial-ethnic demographics of the school setting. Schools with high percentage of low-income African-American and Latino students and large numbers of refusing students are not being treated the same as schools with mass refusal but with wealthier, whiter demographics.
This is wrong. Every child in Chicago Public Schools should have the right to refuse PARCC and receive kind, respectful treatment.
Mistreatment and testing irregularities we are concerned about:
- Refusing students are being made to login to TestNav in violation of ISBE’s protocol described here: http://www.isbe.net/assessment/listserv/2015/mar6.pdf
- A third grade student who submitted a refusal letter and whose mother had a verbal conversation with the teacher about the child refusing was presented with the test. The child was not asked if he was refusing. Because he is in 3rd grade, he was confused by the situation and took the test.
- Refusing students are not being allowed alternative activities in violation of the protocol sent to principals from your office.
- Teachers have been told to call parents of refusing students for each unit of the test even if the student submitted a signed letter from the parent notifying the school that student would be refusing.
- Students are being asked to refuse the same PARCC unit more than once. (Violation of ISBE protocol.)
- Students are required to verbally refuse each unit. (Not the case at other Network 6 schools.)
- Students refusal of the test is not being respected if the test unit has begun; students are being pressured to “finish” a testing unit.
- Even though large numbers of students are refusing, they are not being placed in a separate location.
- Students were informed on the school PA system that if they did not have letters submitted to the network office by the Friday before testing began they could not refuse the test.
- Parents’ refusal letters were turned away at the office rather than being accepted and their wishes noted and respected.
This type of mistreatment and testing irregularities are NOT taking place at other schools with large numbers of refusals elsewhere in the network. The Network Chief himself stated publicly at a Drummond LSC meeting that students only need to refuse PARCC one time verbally. A written note from a parent is not required. Refusing each unit is not required.
We are putting together a full list of student and family mistreatment during PARCC refusal that we will be releasing to the media next week.
Given CPS’ reluctance to administer this test it is truly reprehensible that the district is condoning the mistreatment of children who are sensibly refusing to participate by allowing Network Chiefs to once again inappropriately pressure principals to suppress opt-outs. It is even more shameful that this mistreatment is being meted out with a decided class and racial-ethnic bias.
Please reply with details on how you plan to correct the injustice being done to refusing students at Otis and Pulaski, including specific instructions that will be given to principals to address parents’ and students’ concerns.
We, along with parents at these schools, would be happy to attend a meeting to discuss these issues and how you plan to correct them.
Cassandre Creswell, on behalf of More Than A Score