“School choice” is a political buzzword that gets thrown around a lot in right-wing education discussions when conservatives are making their case for charter school proliferation and the privatization of public education.
Conservatives are very concerned about making sure parents have the right to “choose” to send their children to for-profit charter schools but aren’t concerned about choice at all when it comes to the high-stakes testing regiments currently being imposed on NM students by Gov. Martinez, Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera, and bureaucrats in Santa Fe.
How do I know this? Just take a look at what happened in a House Education committee hearing yesterday. From a House Democrats press release (emphasis mine):
Republicans in House Education Committee vote against Parents rights
HB 129 would have given parents the right to opt their child out of standardized tests
SANTA FE – Today, Republicans in House Education voted against a do pass motion for HB 129, a bill that would allow parents to make the decision to opt their child out of government mandated standardized tests.
“Parents deserve the right to have a say in their child’s education,” said Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard. “Parents are concerned about the time their kids are spending on standardized tests. Every child deserves a quality education – teaching children to memorize a standardized test is not a quality education. No parent should be told that they are not allowed to have a voice in their child’s education. Right now, schools that grant waivers to children are being punished. This is a reckless cycle that needs to end, our kids deserve a quality education and parents deserve a voice.”
HB 129 received a 6-6 party line vote and will remain in the House Education Committee.
If you’d like to learn more about Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard’s “Clarify School Test Individual Choice ” (HB 129), CLICK HERE. And here’s a synopsis of the bill from the Legislative Finance Committee:
[House Bill 129] allows a parent to submit a request for a waiver for their child from taking any standards-based assessment that is not factored into the students’ grade point average, effective for the entire school year. Under the bill, waivers will not affect the student’s ability to participate in any activity sanctioned by the school, the student’s ability to graduate from high school, receive a legislative lottery tuition scholarship, or student promotion and retention decisions. The absence of assessment shall also not affect school personnel decisions or school ratings.