What do the mothers in Opt-Out Orlando and Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly, have in common? They face the loss of control over the fates of their children.
What is the difference? The mothers in Orlando will not accept a tragic ending.
As I sit and listen to the Madama Butterfly performance via a feed on my computer from the Metropolitan Opera House, the idea naturally occurred to me. Parents have the huge responsibility of protecting their child from harm. All harm when possible. The abuse of high stakes testing is so widespread and well financed, to fight it often seems too overwhelming. That, of course, means the fight must be fought and won.
Cindy Hamilton, Sandy Stenoff and Becky Smith organized a film showing and panel Q&A at Howard Middle School on January 25 that opened people’s eyes, established goals for positive change for children, and created an honest dialogue among the 400 people who attended. The impact of what they managed to accomplish will have reverberations for months and years to come. Congratulations to the real movers and shakers, three moms and all the others who comprise Opt-Out Orlando, for this superb event.
The special event film, Standardized: Lies, Money and Civil Rights, is a brilliant documentary about how high stakes testing is ruining public education. The hype surrounding Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and other brands being marketed and sold while financially profiting from tax dollars intended for public schools, is explained as the film follows the money and explains the causes and solutions. Visit the site HERE.
The invited panelists were from different areas of expertise. The fact that a small group of moms organized and made a large group of parents and others dedicated to doing right for children is commendable. The fact that they solicited this group of panelists is nothing short of amazing. Who were the panelists? Becky Smith. Lourdes Perez. Nicholas M. Cutro. Mike Archer. Jay Wheeler. Rick Roach. Pat Deutschman. Rep. Karen Castor-Dentel. (Google their names for bio information.) The audience questions were focused, honest and insightful, as were the responses.
Opt-Out Orlando has grown even more since last week.
You can receive practical help and accurate information to protect your child. Follow them if you are on Facebook HERE or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A full auditorium, passionate crowd, great insights today at Howard Middle School in Orlando for the screening of the important new film – Standardized. Thanks, Opt-Out Orlando. Parents & policymakers alike are waking up to the pernicious influence of high-stakes testing.”
– James Michael Archer
“The bill submitted for drafting, by Rep. Karen Castor-Dentel (District 30), last week would direct school districts to inform parents that they may choose to opt their children out of the (Florida) standardized tests. Should the bill become law, there would be a transparent notification process and clear alternatives for students who will not be sitting for the exams.
The bill requires districts to inform principals, teachers and parents that parents may opt out their child – that children are not required to take a makeup test and that children will be given an alternate activity such as reading in class or the library or to a non-testing class. The process should be simple and uniform. ”
– Sandy Stenoff