BOARDWATCH: Chicago Board of Education ignores parent protests against lies from schools trying to discourage Opt Out...'In addition to this completely unacceptable behavior of adults in our schools, the PARCC continues to disrupt the education of our children:..'

[Editor's Note: Although protests have been taking place across Chicago since the first days of the PARCC testing began, the members of the Chicago Board of Education and Board "Chief Executive Office" Barbara Byrd Bennett continued to ignore parents demands for a clear statement on the rights of children to be taught instead of overtested. At the March 25, 2015 meeting, the following statement was given by Joy Clendenning, of Raise Your Hand. George N. Schmidt, Editor, Substance].

Joy Clendenning, of Raise Your Hand, listed the illegal attacks on Opt Out children, parents and teachers. The Board members basically ignored the protest. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Statement to the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education, March 25, 2015

Joy Clendenning, Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education

Joy Clendenning. CPS parent. Raise Your Hand. Raise Your Hand is in Springfield today with parents from across the state who have serious concerns about the PARCC test, and about the overuse and misuse of standardized testing. One threat from the state was that the Department of Education would cut a billion dollars in funding. Interestingly, when Secretary of Education Duncan was asked about this he denied it. We all deserve to know the facts behind these threats and intimidation tactics. Given this situation, we need a clear and consistent policy on opting out.

We appreciate your effort (in an email to Principals) to clarify a confusing situation. Unfortunately, we have heard accounts of students and families threatened, intimidated and lied to by CPS employees who spread misinformation and used intimidation tactics to get students to take the PARCC. For example:

students will be fined

students will be suspended or expelled

students will be unable to graduate (8th grade or HS)

teachers will be laid off

funds will be cut

students and parents are breaking the law if a student refuses

Some students have been made to verbally refuse to a network chief and some students, including special education and young 3rd grade students were given the test despite the school knowing the parents' intention to have the child refuse. In addition to this completely unacceptable behavior of adults in our schools, the PARCC continues to disrupt the education of our children: high schools with completely re-worked schedules; AP classes told they will have to prepare more on their own because due to the PARCC schedule they will not get through all the material they usually cover; elementary schools with specials cancelled for all students because teachers are proctoring PARCC; children missing hours of IEP-required special education minutes; middle schools missing 3 days of instruction in order to accommodate PARCC scheduling; computer labs not available for regular instruction because of hours and days of PARCC testing; and the list goes on.

This report is about the first round of PARCC testing (there will be another round in late April and early May). In addition to this report, we want to emphasize that the PARCC should never be used as a high stakes test. It is absolutely vital moving forward that you DO NOT attach any high stakes to the PARCC test.