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LEW FREDERICK

State Representative
House District 43
North and Northeast Portland

November 4, 2015
Dr. Salam Noor
Deputy Superintendent
Oregon Department of Education
By email: salam.noor@state.or.us
Dr. Noor,
I an disappointed in your response and the new draft excuse form. While I note
marginal improvement, significant issues remain.
The box, ALL STUDENTS READY FOR COLLEGE AND CAREER, repeats the magical
thinking that somehow having standards will ensure success. As I noted before,
there is significant professional dissent regarding how these standards interact with
normal, healthy child development as well as the validity of the tests. Irrespective of
that, the idea that standards will ensure that all students move from grade to grade
with the academic knowledge and skills necessary for success beyond high school is
nonsensical. Standards are something to measure progress against; they do not produce
progress. This faith that somehow, if we have standards, the kids will just do it, is
getting really tired. It also rests on a false conception of the nature of knowledge and
education, characterizing both as things to be attained, or achieved, pushing aside
modern understanding of intellectual stimulation, development and growth.
While marginally less offensive than the previous iteration, the Notice page continues to
read like the talking points from groups that promote this program, and offers little in
the way of verifiable information about the purported benefits of these tests. For
example, the statement that the tests Help identify poor and high performing schools
and districts so they can receive supports to improve is, to put it gently, controversial.
While we dont know how the results might be used in Oregon, we do know that
nationwide, such results have been used to close poor performing schools, even
where external burdens were significant factors in those results. In fact, the obvious
question is, What if the supports needed are economic supports for families? In
other parts of the country, these data-driven models have been used to marginalize
poor students and their families more, not less. In this context, the claim that using the
Office Address: 900 Court St. NE, Salem, OR 97301 Phone: 503-986-1443 Email: rep.lewfrederick@state.or.us

HB 2655 Notice of Summative Assessments and Excusal Form Revised

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tests to evaluate schools and districts is a benign way of finding who needs support is
going to provoke cynical reactions.
I have a number of comments about the form on page 2.
First, curiously, the link provided in the box, DESCRIPTION OF RIGHTS, takes one to a
pdf of the introduced bill, that is, not to the enrolled bill that was passed by both
chambers and signed by the Governor. My guess is that is just sloppy, but if it persists it
would result in significant misinformation. I havent followed the other links, but they
should be checked.
I am curious as to why the form isnt identified as the form to use if excusing ones child
from the tests. It reads as if every parent is required to complete the form, not just those
intending to excuse their children from the tests.
Thank you for revising the language regarding deadlines.
Finally, I understand that you changed will to may in the bold statement above
the place for the Parent/Guardian signature. However, I continue to believe it is
inappropriate to require parents or students to sign below a statement with which
they may profoundly disagree in order to exercise their rights. This form should be
an instrument by which parents make their wishes known, not one by which the
Department tells them they are wrong, or may be wrong. We should not insult the
intelligence of parents who are in the process of making informed decisions about
their children. The right to excuse ones child from the tests is not contingent on
endorsing this statement, and I dont see what value it adds, aside from a political
poke in the eye to parents who have made this decision. The only thing attested to by
the signature should be the intention to excuse the student from the identified tests:
"I excuse the student identified above from the statewide summative assessment(s)
checked above.
Sincerely,

Rep. Lew Frederick


House District 43
North and Northeast Portland
Copy: State Board of Education
c/o Jessica Nguyen-Ventura