APS board votes down letter about teacher evaluation tests

Updated: 12/04/2013 10:22 PM | Created: 12/04/2013 10:06 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The APS board on Wednesday elected not to send a district-wide letter to parents informing them of their legal right to opt students out of standardized tests.

Students across New Mexico are poised to take statewide, uniform, end-of-course tests for the first time this year.

Some parents felt like Wednesday night's decision was a flip-flop.

The new tests are written by the state and designed to evaluate teacher performance.

"These tests are bogus, and a sham," mom Diane Jouppi said.

Jouppi asked APS board members to tell parents their children can opt out of new standardized testing. She came with a group of other moms and former teachers.

"If you don't even present this stuff to parents, how do they even know what kind of questions to ask?" board member Kathy Korte asked during the meeting.

Korte has been leading the charge to send out the letter.

"Part of parent engagement is also telling parents what's going on in our schools, even if there might be some consequences," Korte said.

The board reviewed a long draft letter meant for APS parents. The letter says parents can keep kids from taking the tests if they want. But they also outline consequences.

High school students who don't take certain exams might not graduate.

Board members were concerned that a letter would suggest APS encourages parents to opt their kids out of exams.

Superintendent Winston Brooks wouldn't offer an opinion and a motion to mail the letters failed in a 5 to 2 vote.

"I was shocked that the board members chose not to inform parents," Jouppi said.

The Public Education Department has said these exams are needed to keep teachers accountable based on a set of core standards.

Jouppi is a former teacher. She and her friends say the decision was a disappointment.

"I am worried about this effecting minority students at a greater rate, I am worried about this effecting special education students at a greater rate. I just don't think this is a well thought out policy," she said.

While the board decided not to go the direct route by sending letters, they are considering putting the same info on their website. 

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