Monday, August 22, 2011

South Carolina Parents Challenge Standardized Testing


If those of you who read this yesterday thought a South Carolina's School Dristrict's treatment of Sharon Johnson and Gretchen Herrera's sons was ridiculous might want to change your opinion to criminal, last night we received an update from Mrs Johnson..

 To update our case (Johnson family), our OCR complaint was accepted, an attorney was assigned, and now an investigation has begun. We also had to file a retaliation claim against the school district because they contacted my son's doctor in an attempt to have the doctor withdraw the medical opinion that my son was mentally unable to test.

To answer a question above, we could not keep my son home for the two weeks of testing for several reasons. His doctor advised us that to keep him out of his self-contained classroom for 2 weeks was not in his best interest. Also, the SC Dept of Education advised me that such absences would be unlawful and that if a student refused to test, there could be disciplinary action. And then if we did keep him home anyway, that would do nothing to help the next child who was forced to take the test against the wishes of his parents and doctor.
Though my son's circumstances were unique, the problems with high-stakes testing and the "teaching to the test" philosophy affect all public school students.

The comment above Sharon Johnson's referring to was a reader comment on Sandra's Grumpy Educators.

Mrs Johnson's statement, if verifiable, means the School District made an attempt to either second guess the doctors medical opinion.. something way above the pay grade of most bureaucrats, or was trying to get the doctor to assist them in altering evidence in the case. .. 

At least in my opinion


Does the governments obsession with standardized testing give them the right to endanger the heath of students with conditions that will adversely affect the students health.?

South Carolina says yes because Federal Law Mandates the Tests Regardless..

This is a scenario that will likely worsen if  Obama's Race to the Top agenda is enacted.. and the Federal Government gains even more control over education.


Sandra in Brevard

In a U.S. Supreme Court determination, Troxel v. Granville, the justices relied on the 14th Amendment: 

(a) The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause has a substantive component that “provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests,” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 720, including parents’ fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, see, e.g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651. Pp. 5—8.

South Carolina appears to have ignored this fact with regard to two cases where parents requested their children not participate in standardized testing.

Gretchen Herrera's son has a complicated medical condition, which is exacerbated by testing regimes. His medical team recommended he not be tested as it puts his health at risk. The request was denied, Mrs. Herrera allowed testing, and after the first day of testing, his health was negatively impacted. If a parent had neglected the health and well-being of their child, they'd find themselves in court with the government stepping in to protect the child. In this case, the government is endangering the child and ignoring the parent. Grumpy Educators reported her situation here. She has taken her request all the way to Washington D.C., and her battle continues this year.

Sharon Johnson's son has a complicated medical condition, and was treated in "an outpatient day treatment to stabilize children with severe emotional and/or behavioral problems. Among other criteria, admitted children must have demonstrated behavior serious enough to jeopardize the safety of others." Upon completion of treatment, he enrolled in public school and slated for standardized testing. In spite of a written medical recommendation that "he was mentally unable to be tested", South Carolina insists if a child can attend school, the child can be tested.

Ms. Johnson believes it is discriminatory to "require mentally unable students to take the exam when physically unable students are exempt, and she's filed a federal Office of Civil Rights complaint to that end." Her case is in process. Read more here.

District officials said this was not a question of fairness to disabled students, but rather following state and federal laws. The school district attorney put it this way: 

"It's about measuring the school and district performance," Emerson said. "That's the way the standards are applied."

In the 1925 U.S. Supreme Court decision Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the finding included:
The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right and the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.

Is the State endangering the health and well-being of these students by ignoring medical recommendations?


  1. I am reposting this complete, Loopy!

  2. I also add some information about the Children with disabilities Act to my post! Loopy

  3. Thanks Loopyloo..

    With luck enough people will see it to embarrass some of the jackasses who think tests are more important than kids.

  4. I'll repost this to my facebook.. also.

  5. Thanks to loopyloo, Black Swan, and any others that can give this story wider audiences. I believe time is critical since Libya and Hurricane Irene will grab everyone's attention in other directions. For those of you outside of Florida and away from Hurricane Irene's path, I thank you for keeping this story in circulation.

  6. Swan.. Might make a interesting reading om AM as well...

  7. The story has been covered here:


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