Chilliwack teachers are calling on school district administrators to respect parents who want their kids to sit out a controversial provincial standards test.
Ed Klettke, president of the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (CTA), said they have already called on the Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside to end the tests, called the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA). They also called on the Chilliwack board of education to petition the minister.
This is a challenging enough year with all the changes COVID-19 has brought to the school system.
But parents who have requested to have their children withdrawn from testing have not been listened to, Klettke said in a press release on Feb. 11.
“Chilliwack teachers are concerned that parents are not being respected in their choices to withdraw their children from the FSA,” he wrote. “Parents are being told that students in attendance will be required to write, regardless of whether an opt out letter was returned to the school. Some parents are feeling that they need to keep their children at home if they don’t want them to write the test.”
But Klettke added that “all students have the right to attend school and parents have the right to withdraw their children from this test for extenuating circumstances. Surely, the global pandemic is a sufficient reason that needs no further explanation.”
The district should not “force” students to write the tests, he added. They are given annually to Grade 4 and Grade 7 students in all B.C. schools. In addition to the testing time, there is also preparation time that takes away from classroom learning.
“The district needs to respect and honour parental choice in this matter,” Klettke added. “Particularly during a pandemic, students have more important learning to do than taking hours of tests that do not inform instruction nor provide any valuable data. Teachers plan learning activities every day to meet the diverse needs of our students and we want your child at school.”
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