This year parents, teachers, and taxpayers have seen firsthand the utter contempt in which the State’s leaders hold them as they develop academic standards, and education-related statutes. House Education Committee chair Paul Boyer, and members of State Board of Education have taken, or have threatened to take action that clearly demonstrates their disregard for teachers, parents and students.
Last week, Boyer made it very clear that he does not recognize parental authority over their children, when he advised constituents that he would not allow HB2056, (opt out bill) to be heard in his committee. In defense of his staunch opposition to parental rights, as embodied in HB2056, Boyer claimed that individual rights must be sacrificed so that the taxpayers can have “the only real measure of accountability” for public education.
He also made the outrageous claim that “it’s possible students could graduate high school without a single assessment.” Not only is that scenario highly unlikely, it is difficult to understand why it “isn’t helpful for the student.”
According to an article in the Washington Post, “A three-year national study of colleges that do not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores found only “trivial” differences in the college graduation rates or the cumulative grade point average of students between those who do and those who do not send in their standardized test results.”
If the tests are not needed for college admission, what use are they really? In the case of AZMerit, they could not have informed teachers on what areas of study need more work because the results came out too late to make meaningful adjustments. In reality, few schools use the results of high stakes tests to adjust instruction. If the results are not helping students and teachers they are wholly unnecessary if that is truly the goal of forcing assessments.
Boyer tried to assuage constituents by offering them a bone supplied by the chambers of commerce, That bone is legislation that would give parents, who are demanding that they be allowed to opt their children out from standardized testing, a menu of standardized tests from which to choose.
That is not choice at all. However, Boyer has the support from the chambers for his refusal to support parents. That support comes in the form of money; something parents don’t have these days.
It is more than money that relegates parents to their second-class status. It is a fundamental misunderstanding by power brokers of parents and the purpose of public education.
Ignoring homeschooled children, and in what can only be described as a condescending tone to all other interested parties the members of the Arizona Standards Development Committee discussed who exactly was the “audience” for standards. In other words, they debated who needed to understand the State’s standards and why.
In 2016, the discussion was truly remarkable. It was long ago determined that public education was for the public, and the standards that govern what is – and what is not taught – was considered a matter for the public. With the advent of Common Core, that changed. Parents are no longer considered partners, and corporations are the primary beneficiaries of the end product; not the students.
What was striking about the discussion was the blatant disrespect shown to anyone that did not have an MED or PhD in their title. Chair Scott Leska, member of the Amphitheater Unified Governing Board, sat quietly as one “educator” lectured on the complexities of linear algebra, and the reasons why parents and taxpayers could never understand why math is taught the way it is before advising the “educator” that he and his wife are both engineers and have owned an engineering firm for years. His statement was met with embarrassed silence.
What could be said? The “educators” said it all: ‘you people are simply too simple to understand what we do.’
The problem with the premise is that it is faulty. And we know that if your premise is faulty, all that follows is likely problematic too.
The truth is that the vast majority of taxpayers and parents are not too simple to understand. Now, they understand clearly that politicians, who claim to value the family, do not, and educators, who claim to serve the public, serve the chambers.