Parents in Manchester continue to submit refusal forms removing their children from the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Last week, we reported that a total of two hundred sixty one letters had been received by principals at Central, West and Memorial, a number covering a quarter of the combined Junior Class in the city’s three traditional high schools. In response to our inquiry Thursday afternoon, Assistant Superintendent David Ryan sent us numbers for the middle and elementary schools on Friday morning and they show the numbers continue to grow. Central’s opt out rate now tops eleven percent and West’s has gone over thirteen. Memorial is holding steady at around fifty four percent.
District wide, over five hundred thirty notifications have been received. Southside tops the non-high school list with fifty one opt out letters, followed by forty five at Hillside, twenty five at Smyth Road, twenty five at Highland Goffe’s Falls, twenty three at McLaughlin, Sixteen at Parkside, Fifteen at Weston and fourteen at Jewett Street. We’ll keep you up to date with apologies for not releasing this on Friday. We’ll publish the entire list and hopefully get the district to cough up the number kids covered by the test so we can determine the opt out rate. We’re betting it’s pushing that five percent threshold citywide.
Meanwhile, a veteran teacher has announced she will resign her post at the end of the year because of the Common Core national standards and its associated data collection through Smarter Balanced. Diane Sekula said in a statement published on Girard at Large that when she taught in the Soviet Union as a Peace Corps Volunteer from nineteen ninety nine to two thousand one, she “was told by our federal government to help teachers design lessons that included opportunities for creativity and innovation because it was not done under Soviet Rule.” “Under Soviet Rule testing,” she writes, “was everything and you were labeled because of it. Labels work for bottles of poison BUT NOT FOR CHILDREN OR DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES.” Sekula wrote she’s seen “enough of the extreme anxiety and tears from both teachers and students because of the pressure, confusion and uncertainty surrounding Common Core and SBAC Testing” and she wants nothing more to do with it. Wonder if State Board of Education member Bill Duncan will take her to lunch. (All emphasis within quotes is in the original.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
State Representative Laurie Sanborn, Republican from Bedford, says she’s been removed from her position on the Finance Committee by House Speaker Shawn Jasper because she won’t toe leadership’s line on the budget. Sanborn said she will not vote for the House budget and, as a member of the leadership herself, she notified her division chairman, which led to a meeting with Jasper.
Of the matter, Sanborn wrote: “As a Republican, I ran on a platform that strongly opposes new taxes and fees, and one that responsibly manages state government spending. The budget that the House is proposing this week does neither. I have been surprised and disappointed with the process that has been used in the Finance committee for this budget. Repeatedly I was asked to vote on things without advance communication, without input on strategy, and without details. In fact, yesterday morning all Republicans were told to vote on the other Divisions’ budgets, even though none of us had an opportunity to see or read them. This is not something I can do.” End quote.
She said that when she refused the suggestion she take a walk, which means leaving the chamber when it’s time to vote, she was told she was done. For his part, Jasper released a statement announcing Sanborn had been replaced with State Representative David Hess, Republican from Hooksett, saying quote “When someone is part of a leadership team they sometimes have to make sacrifices to move the process along for the good of the team. Rep. Sanborn spoke at length with me before a decision was made to replace her on the Finance committee.” End quote. We’ve linked to a letter Sanborn sent to the New Boston Republican Committee on the matter.
Manchester Police received several suspicious vehicle complaints last week. The suspicious vehicle complaints involved a lone Caucasian operator allegedly asking school aged children if they needed a ride. There were three incidents last week which occurred during after school hours in separate geographical locations. Police are asking parents to remind school children to travel in groups, avoid conversations with strangers and always be aware of their surroundings. The department requests that you contact them immediately to report any suspicious vehicles or persons approaching children of any age at any time. We’ll post their release with complete details after this morning’s newscast and link to it from this news read at Girard at-Large dot com.
Police in Candia are asking residents to be on the alert for an older, black Nissan Altima. They released partial NH plate number 3 7 7 and said two white males were seen in the vehicle during times of suspicious activity in the Patten Hill Road/Main Street area. Anyone with any information is asked to call Candia P D 4 8 3 2 3 1 8, especially if the vehicle is spotted.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!