Opt Out Orlando Membership Surges While Fighting Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart

OptOutOrlando Logoby Sandy Stenoff
It is no coincidence that Florida is both the birthplace of No Child Left Behind and also the state with the greatest number of for-profit prisons in the nation.

I am one of the three mothers who founded Opt Out Orlando two years ago. We provide factual, documented and verifiable information to parents so that they can make informed decisions about opting out, in support of their children's education.

 

On January 26, 2015, in response to serious questions from the FL Senate Education Appropriations

Committee

http://fsba.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/12.1.14.Letter_Gaetz_to_Stewart_on_testing.pdf,

Fl Commissioner of Ed, Pam Stewart issued a chilling letter (http://yourcharlotteschools.net/OptOut/CommisionerStewartsResponse.pdf), replete with half-truths and thinly veiled threats, aimed squarely at teachers and parents.

It is important to note the great error of omission in Commissioner Stewart's letter, pointed out eloquently and thoroughly here, by veteran FL teacher, Jennifer Anhalt:
http://www.gainesville.com/article/20150222/OPINION03/150229997/-1/opinion03?Title=Jennifer-Anhalt-State-bullying-on-testing

"After reading Stewart's letter, I realize the Legislature believes that the only way to assess a child's knowledge is through a standardized test. As stated in the letter, "If students were to opt out, students and parents would not know whether students have mastered the subject content in their courses, which is a basic process of learning." This statement couldn't be more false.

Stewart and the Legislature are making the assumption that the only way to measure knowledge and learning is through standardized tests."

Commissioner Stewart is a former educator. This was no mistake or accident.

Since then, we have seen our numbers explode. With every new action to suppress parents who choose to stand up, there is a surge in requests to join our movement. Since last July alone, there are now 35 separate Opt Out groups in 30 of Florida's 67 districts and we continue to add more districts regularly.

You correctly state, Sir,

"The stakes are high already, but this battle is going to dramatically escalate. Mark my word. Every incremental growth in the opt-out movement is going to draw increasingly severe response. This is not even about education any more. It is about money... and these folks don't like losing."

If the tests serve 'someone', it's certainly not children. I continue to say, that even more important than the fact that the tests do not inform teachers' instruction and are of no educational benefit, they are causing real harm to our children and it needs to stop.

Parents in every corner of this nation are awakening to their children's reality in school. We are aware. We are informed. We are angry. And we VOTE.

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