Reform · Students

Yet Again, Pelto Wrongfully Accuses Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor of Lying

Unless stating a fact is somehow a new form of “bullying,” Stefan Pryor has done nothing wrong.

In his latest in a series of rambling diatribes, Jon Pelto bashes Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor for “lying” to parents about the legality of opting their children out of the new Smart-Balanced Assessment. He points to two memos sent out by the state Department of Education to superintendents as proof of Pryor’s “intimidation” tactics.

Take a look at the statements Pelto is outraged about—here is an excerpt from the first memo:

“There is no opt-out language in state or federal law governing assessments. Sec. 10-14 of the Connecticut Education Laws states that each student enrolled… in any public school shall annually take a statewide mastery examination. ”

By the way, this is, in fact, true, as per state statute. [Education Evaluations and Remedial Assistance, Chapter 163c, Sec. 10-14n.]

There is also no state law explicitly allowing me to drive slower than the speed limit. Should the Commissioner of Transportation be arrested?

In the second memo, Pryor explains, while the U.S. Department of Education did grant a flexibility waiver to Connecticut, full participation in state testing is still required under federal law:

“The U.S. Department of Education has approved the Connecticut Department of Education’s application for Field Test Flexibility for 2013-14. This approval confirms your district’s ability to administer the Smart Balanced Field Test… Though Connecticut has received this flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to minimize the burden of double testing, this federal approval did not waiver the fundamental “participation” requirement.”

How is this “misleading” parents? Pryor is simply stating a fact and informing superintendents of federal and state law.

Pelto wants his readers to believe the commissioner is making up rules, but he hasn’t even attempted to contradict these facts. No, instead Pelto’s argument is that laws don’t count if they don’t have consequences.

So, even though there is not “opt-out language” in federal or state law, and schools are, in fact, required to test students, all of that doesn’t matter.

Yep, in Pelto’s twisted mind, he believes the education law is invalid if it doesn’t have direct consequences for students, and Pryor is somehow in the wrong because he wants districts to follow these laws?

Of course, he’s wrong about that too.

The federal mandate that Pryor is referring to in his memos, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is tied to federal funding.

There might not be consequences for individual students, but there could be consequences for schools and districts.

There are absolutely zero consequences for Pelto, even if he gets things wrong, misinterprets the facts and misleads his readers.



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