A World Without Flags, Borders and Anthems
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Opting Out - At Least In One Small Way...
First day of school for son (8, 3rd grade), yesterday...
He didn't want to go... nothing's changed over summer and we had the usual tears and pleading and having to be pried from me at the classroom door...
Horrified to find the flag flying in the classroom, with a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance pinned underneath it...
My son has four nationalities and I don't want him brainwashed to be loyal to any one country, any one philosophy, any one culture, any one religion, any one ethnic or social group...
He's a citizen of the world, and I've already written a post about my beliefs around flags, borders, anthems and patriotism:
A World Without Flags, Borders and Anthems
And then, a notice came home in the afternoon, saying that the first 10 days of school would be taken up with testing, testing and more testing...
And son had a temper tantrum last night, which in the end, was the releasing of pent-up tension and unhappiness about his day at school, where all of his security references/ties have been taken away from him...
He said his day had no "roses", just all "thorns" and that after the initial greeting 'circle up' and warm-up game, it was all boring...
What more information do I need to legitimise my almost-made decision to take him out of school and "unschool" him?
This morning I sent this letter to the school/district, son is staying home and I need to finally reconcile my ambivalence about "formal" education...
Sent 13 September 2011, Shoreline School District, Washington
Dear Shereen, Trinh and Superintendent Walker...
I, Sahila ChangeBringer, hereby exercise my parental rights under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to withdraw my son "C" from any and all forms of standardised testing conducted at Room Nine and within the Shoreline School District.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents posses the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” Furthermore, the Court declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35) The Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402.) In Meyer, the Supreme Court held that the right of parents to raise their children free from unreasonable state interferences is one of the unwritten "liberties" protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (262 U.S. 399).
In recognition of both the right and responsibility of parents to control their children’s education, the Court has stated:
“It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for the obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.” (Prince v.Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158)
C is not permitted to take the test during mandated testing days nor during designated make-up sessions.
Additionally, I am requesting that the school make accommodations for meaningful alternative activities or assignments that will continue to promote his academic and intellectual growth.
C will not be in attendance if academically viable alternatives are not available.
Furthermore, I must be guaranteed in writing that whatever option is taken, either alternative assignments or absence, my child will not face any negative consequences to, for example, course grades, social or behavioral evaluations, workload, promotion, or future classroom assignments.
Furthermore, I ask that no record of this testing be part of C's permanent file, as I do not wish him to participate in standardised achievement testing for promotion, graduation, or school/state report cards.
Strict adherence to state and Federal high-stakes standardised testing, including the extensive classroom preparation that occurs prior to test administration, prevents my student from receiving a well-rounded and engaging educational experience.
•Is not scientifically-based and fails to follow the U.S. Government’s own data on learning
•Fosters test driven education that is not meeting the individual/intellectual needs of students
•Presents a racial and economic bias that is beneficial to white middle/upper class students and detrimental to second language students, impoverished students, and students of colour
•Violates the United States Constitution’s ESEA Fiscal Fairness Act
•Supports complicity of corporate interests rather than democracy based on public concerns
•Fosters coercion over cooperation with regards to federal funding for public education
•Promotes a culture of lying, cheating, and exploitation within the school community
•Has used the achievement gap to foster a “de facto” segregation that has resulted in separate and unequal education for minorities
I do apologize in advance for the inconvenience or scrutiny that this decision may cause the administration, the school, and staff.