Alaskan Parents Opting Kids Out of Assessments Are Not a Threat

Alaska State Flag by Ed Keith (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)
Photo credit: Ed Keith (CC-By-NC-ND 2.0)

The Alaska State Department of Education and Early Development prepared a packet for the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development’s meeting held this week in Juneau. Included in the packet were notes from a power point presentation. Whoever was doing the presenting would point to the results of a SWOT session that was held. SWOT is a strategic planning method that allows a group to consider their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

This is a process I have taken groups through as a moderator in several non-profit organizations, and have also participated as a participant in numerous sessions. In this case I’m not sure what group completed the process – whether it was their advisory council, the state board of education or a group of bureaucrats within the Department.

Notice what they list as the top “key threat.” – “Parents can opt out of testing and schools will bear the brunt of that decision without change to AK law.” Twenty people in their group saw that as a “threat.”

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This document and the group involved in doing the SWOT are completely tone deaf.

Alaskan parents are not the threat. They are the ones who are the chief stakeholder in their child’s education. If they want to list a “threat” then instead of complaining about parents opting-out they should complain about the federal testing threshold that puts this burden on them to begin with.

HT: Alaskans Against the Common Core