Education, Opt out, Public Schools, Schools, Test Refusal

Go Big or Go Home (Part 1 of 2)

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Go Big or Go Home

This was my approach to the only two OEA Representative Assemblies I have attended. While this second one lacked the element of surprise in what motion I would make, it certainly sparked some lively debate among delegates.

In a year’s time though, things did change. Most importantly, I built connections with other delegates and friendships with many of them. The level of support was astonishing to me. I am truly grateful for the many people who spoke in favor of and helped with the motion. I must acknowledge Kevin Griffin who agreed to second and help tweak the phrasing umpteen times. We were optimistic and felt we had language that would request a very simple, but significant action.

I submitted the New Business Item (NBI) form and returned to my seat. The day was busy and many people had thoughts to share with me after that paper got turned in. Some wanted to clarify the intent and just get more information. Some wanted to share the concerns they have. Some wanted to share their support. It was pretty overwhelming.

Here is what was submitted:

NBI: OEA will educate members and parents about their right to refuse statewide

standardized tests. OEA will request that ODE notify parents of their right to

refuse any statewide standardized test that is not required for grade promotion or

graduation.

Rationale: This NBI shows that OEA supports parents and their right to direct their

children’s education.

At some point that morning, my local president informed me of news that really touched my heart. She called a vote in our district’s delegation. They unanimously voted to support the NBI and to have her speak in favor of it on their behalf. That means more to me than I can adequately express. I am grateful to Mary Kennedy and our entire Hilliard EA delegation for their support.

As I approached the microphone, an inexplicable calm washed over me. I had sobbed while writing my speech the night before and felt certain I wouldn’t make it through without crying. I technically didn’t, but I’m OK with that. I can rarely talk about what is happening to my students without crying. So what if that happened to be in front of a large number of people? I didn’t feel nervous, just sad.

I finished and Kevin eloquently explained further. He made excellent points about the sharp differences in how school districts are handling refusal requests. He even quoted from the NEA President’s blog to show how far-reaching the support for parents’ right to refuse the tests is. I was again humbled and blessed that he agreed to help.

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