Common Core has been a train-wreck from the beginning, but now it has become appalling! For the past three weeks, Ohio students have been taking the standardized PARCC assessments of Common Core.  Thankfully, parents have been given the opportunity to opt their children out, but stories are now surfacing these children are being punished for doing so.

Crystal Shultz’s child who attends Clear Fork Valley schools, is not welcome in the school until the testing is over. Every day the students miss for opting out will be considered unexcused absences.

In Logan Elementary Schools, the students who opted out, were given extra assignments to do while the other students were taking the PARCC assessments. Although this was actually what a lot of parents wanted, the test-taking students received an extra recess while the students who opted out had to sit inside and do work.

Miranda West, who opted her child out, contacted the administration and was told the students were being, “rewarded for working hard for hours of testing.” Her child was not given extra recess or a means to earn the extra recess.

North Ridgeville Middle School is resorting to public humiliation. Michelle Dolezal’s daughter is just one case: “Her math teacher passed a goodie box around the room (candy, homework passes, etc). When the box reached my daughter, the teacher snatched it out of her hands and told her she wasn’t allowed to take anything because she didn’t take the Common Core tests.”

This clearly bothered Michelle: “My problem was not with her losing out on candy,” Michelle explained, “but that she made an example of her in front of the class.”

A similar story was told in Carlisle Middle School from a source that would like to remain anonymous: “The class was given big candy bars to eat in front of my son who was bluntly told ‘no’ to getting one. At 10 yrs old, he didn’t understand and found it very unfair.”

The Dover Public School forced Jennifer Flaherty’s 10-year old son to sit still at a desk with no materials for up to 90 minutes. Not only is Mrs. Flaherty’s son 10-years old, but he has also been assigned an IEP, or an Individualized Education Program given to students with disabilities. When the parent complained, the school humiliated him by putting the 4th grader in a kindergarten class.

In North Union Public Schools, all students who completed the Common Core tests got to go laser tagging, but students who opted out were not allowed to go.

Zane Trace School Districts had one of the worst punishments for students according to Shelena Penrod. First only students who took the test were allowed water. Then the next day the kids that had opted out had to pass out the bottled water to the students who were taking the test, but were not allowed to have any for themselves. On top of that, they had their movie day taken away. She said, “They are treated like prisoners.”

In Jennings Community Learning Center, Mindy Chaboudy’s child was told that she is no longer allowed to attend a game night.

In Delphos Middle School, students were told that they would not be allowed to go on the next field trip to the park and they would be prohibited from coming to the school dance.

These actions by the school’s administration and teachers are absolutely unacceptable. When a student breaks a rule there should be negative consequences but according to Ohio state law, it is completely legal for students to opt out of these assessments. It is, therefore, unfair to these students to be treated as criminals or outcasts.

It was once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” There are teachers, parents, students and citizens that need to raise their voice against this type of behavior in our public schools. It is an American tradition to be part of the dissent. Schools should stop punishing students and parents for exercising their rights!

Acknowledgements 

I would like to thank all the parents who had the courage to speak out against these punishments. And special thanks to my editor and friend Matthew Baradihi.