BOISE, ID. (TVOI News) Today is April 9, 2015 and an ultimatum was dictated to the West Ada School District. The Ultimatum expired at 5 p.m. Mountain Time and with that motions have begun.
Brandon Curtiss is a former Police Officer and current Idaho business Owner choosing to rear his family in Meridian Idaho. He is not an expert in matters of litigation or law yet took his hand on this day to push back when he felt his family was threatened with current practices he deemed inappropriate in regard to how the Idaho State Education system was managing his families school issues. The topic of discussion today is the new ISAT testing procedure now put forth by the Board of Education in Idaho.
As a former Police officer Mr. Curtiss is well aware of the potential ramifications of personal data collected about his children, especially if one feels these records might be used for commercial gain or to categorize an individual in the future.
Now learning of the parameters of his parental rights, it appears Mr. Curtiss had a fast two day learning curve and wants all Idaho parents to see the facts he has been able to discern.
If you are a parent, it is imperative you review this material so you have the facts to make a sound educated judgment call for your family.
Remember, you are The Voice of Idaho.
Brandon Curtiss April 9, 2015
West Ada School District (http://www.meridianschools.org/About/Pages/ContactUs.aspx)
1303 E. Central Dr.
Meridian, ID. 83642
West Ada Administrative Staff, and Meridian Middle School, As the parent, or legal guardian of Briar R. Curtiss, under D.S legislation and federal court decisions, I have the fundamental and legal right to direct the upbringing and education of my child, which the school may not deny. In addition, pupils have certain rights to have their privacy protected.
According to the Rights and Responsibilities of Test Takers: Guidelines and Expectations, test takers have a right to present concerns about the testing process or reporting of results and receive information about procedures that will be used to address such concerns. Test takers also have a right to receive a brief oral or written explanation prior to testing about the purpose(s) for testing, the kind(s) of tests to be used, if the results will be reported to you or to others, and the planned use(s) of the results.
I have not received any such explanation about online tests including the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessments and have concerns about the purpose of the tests, their content, and potential data security breach of student test information. The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) (20 U.S.c. § 1232h; 34 CFR Part 98) applies to programs that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Because the tests are administered in the State of Idaho for the purpose and as a condition of qualifying for receipt of federal education grants, the SBAC testing program is subject to the PPRA, and under that law schools and contractors are required to make instructional materials available for inspection by parents if those materials will be used in connection with an ED-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation in which their children participate. Further the schools and contractors must obtain written parental consent before minor students are required to participate in any ED-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning:
1. Political affiliations;
2. Mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student and his/her family;
3. Sex behavior and attitudes;
4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating and demeaning behavior;
5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
6. Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers; or
7. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
My child Briar R. Curtiss is in 7th grade for the 2014 and 2015 school year at Meridian Middle School. I am writing to inform you for a second time that I refuse to have my child take part in the SBAC or any other form of high stakes standardized testing. In lieu of the high stakes standardized tests I request that my child be given alternative forms of assessment to include but not limited to teacher made assessments, projects, and portfolio, to be determined at the discretion of Briar’s teacher. I will not “check” her out of school as I was instructed to do so by the school during these testing times. Removing my child from hours of education as a “work around” not to participate in any high stakes testing is not acceptable or conducive to her learning.
Ten years of research and analysis by academic experts working at universities from Penn State to Harvard conclusively prove that high stakes testing harms children, undermines and restricts curriculums, and punishes schools that serve the most vulnerable members of our society — kids with special needs and kids in poverty.
Participating in these tests
1) negatively affects my child social-emotional well-being,
2) kills her curiosity and love for learning,
3) places developmentally inappropriate and undue and unhealthy stress on her,
4) reduces her capacity for attaining new knowledge,
5) replaces her higher order thinking with “drill and kill” curriculum,
6) diminishes opportunities for socialization, and
7) diverts funding that could go to fund programs in my child’s school to testing companies and publishing companies.
According to the U.S Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, I am protected by my rights to religious/spiritual freedom and this federal law supersedes state in regard to parental control over one’s child. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” Furthermore, the Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State:
- Those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35)
- The Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390,402.) In Meyer, the Supreme Court held that the right of parents to raise their children free from unreasonable state interferences is one of the unwritten “liberties” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (262 U.S. 399).
- In recognition of both the right and responsibility of parents to control their children’s education, the Court has stated, “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for the obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.” (Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158.
In addition to Federal Rulings and Law, I am sure you are well aware of the Idaho HB 113, this bill has been passed and become law in Idaho. This is the Idaho Code that gives Parental Right to Direct the Education of Children. This law clearly outlines that a parent or legal guardian has the fundamental duty and right to make decisions concerning their education. Further, Idaho Code 32-1013 was also passed in the same HB 113, stating, Interference with Fundamental Parental Rights is Restricted. This outlines that the State of Idaho or any political subdivision thereof may not violate a parents fundamental rights. 32-1013 Section 4 states that when a parent’s fundamental rights are violated that they may obtain appropriate relief against the governmental entity, which in this case will be the West Ada School District, Meridian Middle School, as well as the State of Idaho Department of Education.
Therefore, after much consideration, I respectfully and formally state that:
“The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”
After my first request dated April 7, 2015, I was sent the Assumption of Responsibility for Non-Participation form was sent to me. I was asked to sign this form acknowledging a certain point and how opting my child out of assessment testing will be in violation of Idaho Administrative Code 08.02.03.111.04. This statement in itself is deceptive and displays a twisting of words that can be proven to include several false facts and deceitful information. I refuse to sign a form, which in itself is not valid on its own merits.
The Idaho Administrative Code is merely a set of rules and guidelines put in place to govern the district offices and departments. These “rules” do not supersede parents wanting to exercise their parental rights against their will. They also do not give the school district, you as the Director of Assessments, or any other person within the school district the ability or authority to overstep my parental rights guaranteed to me by our Constitution, Federal Government, Idaho Law, and to completely disregard and ignore my directive given to the school for my child. As outlined in Idaho Code 33-105, it seems quite clear that parents are not under the confines of your “rules”, since they are not employees or agents of the district. Administration Code is the governing document for the office and departments within the school districts of the State of Idaho. This rule you keep citing does not negate the parental rights of any parent to make decisions for their child including opting out of any testing. Although I understand there is no policy in place to allow for opting out of testing, I am also fully aware there is no policy or law requiring a student to be forced to take testing. You cannot cite only one side of the “no policy” argument and use it to your advantage as a legal response when no such policy exists.
This letter and 2nd request is to notify the Idaho Department of Education, the West Ada School District, and the Meridian Middle School that you are hereby put on notice that if you continue to act in a negligent manner and disregard and ignore my parenting directive, I will pursue further action which will include filing a Tort Claim against the West Ada School District along with the Meridian Middle School, followed by a Civil Rights Infringement Suit filed not only against the West Ada School District and the Meridian Middle School, but also naming personally each administrative staff member, Director, or employee who disregarded and ignored my written request and directive that was delivered in person to the Meridian Middle School on April 7,
I have also been in touch with several Civil Rights Organizations including the ACLU, The III% of Idaho, News Media, and my legal counsel who are awaiting the outcome of my request. I will expect a formal response honoring my request and directives in writing as outlined above by no later than 5:00 PM today, April 9, 2015.
Thank you in advance to your attention in this serious matter,
1) I am opting my child out of any computerized formative or summative SBAC tests or other standardized test over any subject at the end of the school year, including online end-of-course assessments (EOC). I request that the school make accommodations for paper and pencil EOC tests, or meaningful alternative activities or assignments.
2) NO personal data about my child or our family provided at the time of enrollment or during the school year shall be sent to any State or Federal agency, contractor or vendor outside of this school district without my specific written consent.
3) Those school district employees, elected officials, contractors or vendors who violate this notice, by sharing my child’s and/or our family’s personal data outside this school district, without my written consent, shall be held accountable to the fullest extent of Federal and State laws.
4) Among my specific objections to the SBAC testing are the following:
a. In the testing process, personal information is gathered about students that includes attitudes, behaviors, strengths, weaknesses and beliefs, as well as test performance data. This information is made available to other government agencies and is maintained in perpetuity. We consider this collection and dissemination of personal information to be an unwarranted and unauthorized invasion of my Daughter’s privacy.
b. The SBAC test has not been determined to be valid or reliable as defined by testing industry standards. We are concerned that questions on the test have been designed to influence the student’s beliefs and values, rather than educate them. This purpose and result is contrary to our core principles and beliefs.
c. We believe that Idaho’s agreement to adopt the SBAC test and cede the State’s authority for development of testing standards to a private entity under the consortium agreement violates our Constitutional rights.
d. As Idaho taxpayers, we object to the State’s payment of membership fees to SBAC as well as fees for enrollment of all students in the SBAC tests.
e. We also believe that the U.S. Dept. of Education has exceeded its authority and violated the limitations on the Spending Power set out in the United State Constitution, by requiring all students in Idaho to take the SBAC test as a condition of the State of Idaho’s receipt of federal Race to the Top grant funds.
f. Requiring any High School student to submit to taking the SBAC test as a condition to being eligible to graduate violates their right to receive an education at a public educational institution, by imposing unreasonable conditions on the receipt of a free, thorough, public education. Idaho Const. art. IX, § 1. provides.
Assessment and Testing:
Phone: (208) 350-5068
Fax: (208) 350-5970
Contact: Jackie Thomason
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