March 24, 2006

 

Dr. Teresa Bergeson

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Old Capitol Building

Olympia, WA  98504-7200

 

Dear Dr. Bergeson;

 

Two weeks ago, one of our members brought to my attention a set of survey questions that is to be attached to this year’s WASL tests. Parent Empowerment Network board members and I have examined all questions for all grade levels and found them to be inappropriate, invasive, and harmful, so much so, that we are calling on you to remove the survey from the test and withdraw any plans of administering these questions to students.

 

All questions on the survey breach the rights of both students and parents in the area of confidentiality. They also ignore the rights of parents to guide their children in important matters, including future plans for education. Particularly alarming is the question which asks sixth graders whether they plan to complete high school. In essence, OSPI is asking 11-year-olds to predict their own academic failure!

 

Asking students to respond to personal questions requires prior written consent from the parent or guardian. We have reviewed the statement to parents regarding the student survey included in the 2006 “Aiming High” booklet. Parents have not necessarily received this latest version of “Aiming High.” In fact our members inform us that they have received the 2005 version. Regardless, the notification did not include the specific questions that are on the survey, nor did it provide parents with a consent form.

 

Should you and/or your staff refuse to prevent the distribution and administration of this survey, Parent Empowerment Network will initiate legal action, calling for an injunction against your agency’s administration of the survey and the WASL to which it is attached.

 

On behalf of PEN, I am demanding that you respond to our petition by Monday, April 3, 2006. In the meantime, PEN will prepare the necessary legal papers. In the event that you ignore our request, PEN will proceed with the filing for injunction.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Juanita Doyon, Director

Parent Empowerment Network

 

cc Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Governor Christine Gregoire,

    Attorney General Rob McKenna

 

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