Jon Pelto Opt-Outs of Reality

If Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s aim was to “mislead” parents, why would he publicly announce that there were no state sanctioned consequences for parents opting their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment?

The answer is, he wouldn’t.

No, the reality is the only people trying to mislead parents are Jon Pelto and his “opt-out” brigade who have conveniently glossed over several extremely important details.

Let’s first settle the most blaring misconception: Districts are, in fact, required by state and federal mandate to test all students. There really is no “out-opt” provision. No one is lying about this.

By some absurd twist of logic, Pelto believes these laws don’t exist merely on the basis that there are no direct consequences for students.

That’s not how laws work.

Whether Pelto wants to believe it or not, districts are still bound by state and federal law, to have “full participation” in state testing.

Faulty logic isn’t the only way they’re misleading parents.

While he indiscriminately bashes Connecticut superintendents whose only crime seems to be explaining to parents state and federal law, Pelto also leaves out the possibility of broader consequences.

He may insist that the Smarter Balanced Assessment doesn’t count as a “mastery test,” but the U.S. Department of Education begs to differ.

As explained by State Board of Education Chairman Allen Taylor at last week’s Common Core hearing, the NCLB waiver granted to Connecticut schools hinged on considering the Smarter Balanced assessment a “mastery test.”

If districts don’t comply with the terms of the waiver, The US Department of Education could possibly rescind the waiver or cut Title I funding.

Sure, unless district policy says otherwise, there are no direct consequences for students, but it’s very important that parents understand that by opting their children out of testing, there could consequences inflicted on their districts.



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