Can Students Opt Out On State Standards?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by mariecurie, Nov 13, 2014.

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  1. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Can Students Opt Out On State Standards Because of Their Religious Beliefs?

    I have a student whose parents are refusing to let her learn about the Big Bang Theory.

    What are your thoughts? Have any of you experienced this?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I had a student who agreed to learn what was needed to pass the state proficiency test (HS), but was adamant about denying any of it was true. My guess is that it depends on the state and the age of the student.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You know, this is something worth asking my principal. I'd like to find out the response!
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

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    I don't think that you can opt out of certain standards here. The point of attending an accredited school is that the student who graduates has been taught a set of standards.

    I don't know how far I would take it in my classroom. Since I reference all sorts of standards throughout the semester it would be very difficult to "protect" a student from hearing about the big bang or evolution. He wouldn't just hear it during an Evolution chapter. It is incorporated into 75% of the other topics I teach too.
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Parents can't pick and choose which standards their kids learn.

    They can, however, opt out of state testing (many of them don't know this, though).
     
  7. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    When HS do this and the test is a graduation requirement; then what happens? Does the state automatically give an alternative? If so, what?
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I have at least two students who are in religions that are against the teaching and learning about war. I found this out when I gave an assignment asking them to write from the perspective of a WWI soldier in the trenches. I was able to quickly create an alternate assignment and have excused these students from the lessons on the topic. However, my Social Studies counterpart has an annual set of headaches awaiting her as she teaches more comprehensive units on wars and other atrocities (I covered her class on genocide last year and it was a doozy). I don't know how she handles this from year to year.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    In my district it has been said, not sure how long it would stand up legally, that state exams in high school count for 25% of the final grade. Students are no longer REQUIRED to take the exams. But teacher-made alternate forms will not be available.

    So basically, if you opt out, the high grade you can get is a D in the course.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    Are the wars part of the standards? How could you possibly teach a social studies class without mentioning war? That is an incomplete education.

    Students that cannot be taught about certain things need to be homeschooled. You can make your own curriculum then.
     
  11. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Our state allows for students to opt out, but we are required to give alternative options for the students.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

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    I can see alternative options for novel choices. The same standards can be met whether you're teaching Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet.

    I don't understand options for the big bang or evolution. There aren't "options" in science.

    I don't understand teaching World History or U.S. History without mentioning wars. Wars are part of history!
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I have had students from families like this too, the hypocrsiy is so amusing.

    I saw things like this all the time: I can't play chess, its about war, 2 weeks later "Oh I love Star Wars, I watched it this weekend with my dad!".....uhmm what?

    So many more similar situations, it is comical.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I've heard about students being allowed to opt out of activities but not standards. I feel like if parents object to the standards, they should consider homeschooling or private school. I certainly don't know what the law has to say about it, but that's my personal opinion.

    Is the Big Bang a standard, by the way?
     
  15. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    What religion forbids the learning about war?
     
  16. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I had a feeling that would be the answer, but my best friend (also a US History teacher) is a Witness and definitely teaches the heck out of those wars. And I've had multiple Witness students who have fully embraced learning about all parts of history.
     
  17. Pashtun

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    I know, that was my point.
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Where did I say anything about hypocrisy? The students are happily working on an alternate assignment with the exact rubric that hits the same standards. Instead, they are writing a message in a bottle from a desert island.
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I can understand a parent wanting to opt out of violent text, etc. I honestly can't understand a parent wanting to opt out of big bang talk, etc. I try to be respectful of other people's beliefs, but I just can't get wanting to deliberately shortchange a child's scientific education. I am very grateful that I don't teach a grade level where this could come up.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I don't think you understood me.

    I have had several of these students, what they are allowed to do changes everytime.

    1. Can't have anything to do with war.
    2. Can't play chess
    3. Allowed to watch Star Wars
    4. Allowed to play checkers
    5. Can't celebratge Halloween...but I can accept the Candy
    The list goes on.
     
  21. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I was just expressing confusion about which religion we were discussing. I am not agreeing about any "hypocrisy." I realize different tenants can have different beliefs. I have Mormon friends who will drink soda and others who will not. I had not personally heard about Witnesses being against war; that was just my confusion.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    To sustain the charge of hypocrisy, I think it's necessary to establish that the people so charged not only be inconsistent about what they're allowing vs. forbidding but also KNOW they are being inconsistent and persist in that inconsistency anyway. That's one of the reasons that "Hypocrite!" is such a tempting attack term: one gets to load in with the accusation of bad behavior the additional assertion that the actor is A Bad Person.

    Charging inconsistency alone will suffice here.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Some posts have been unapproved at the request of the member who posted them; posts in reply have been unapproved too. Peace, people.
     
  24. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I'll be completely honest: I work for a K-8 school district and have zero experience working in a high school setting nor do I (personally) know any high school administrators.

    I'd be interested to know the answer to your question, though! Hoping someone else will chime in!
     
  25. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Yes, the standard is that they are able to understand & explain how cosmic microwave background radiation is evidence supporting the Big Bang.

    What's even more alarming is the fact that if they skip over how the Universe is formed, they won't fully understand star formation, solar system formation, or Earth's history - all state standards. I wonder if the student also opted out of learning about evolution in 7th grade.
     
  26. HorseLover

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    I don't understand the viewpoint of not even learning about those things (and definitely do not think that it should be the teacher's responsibility to do something else IF it is the core content of the course, and not just a more easily altered assignment). For example, I personally do not believe in the Big Bang or in people evolving from animals, BUT I do find it valuable to have learned about those things! They are going to encounter those ideas at some point in their lives. Wouldn't it be better if they knew what they were talking about? I just don't get it :confused: Oh well
     
  27. otterpop

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    As an elementary teacher, I would let kids opt out of nearly anything for belief reasons. I can't think of any essential standards in reading or math that I couldn't adapt to accomodate concerns, within reason. If a student can't learn about something in health, science, or social studies, they could just go to another room with an alternative assignment.
     
  28. Go Blue!

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    ICAM.

    I have never heard of a child opting out of state testing in my district since it is a graduation requirement. And, I am 100% SURE most of my parents do NOT want to home-school their children, even if they had the time and resources ...
     
  29. KinderCowgirl

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    I have limited knowledge in this area, but don't homeschooling parents still have to follow the state curriculum? I thought there was an oversight process that they had to turn lesson plans into, etc.
     
  30. 2ndTimeAround

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    That's the thing though, you can't have it both ways. You can't dictate how I run my classroom, how the state sets standards and then say "but I don't want to do it myself!"

    Homeschooling parents have different requirements depending upon the state they are in. In NC they do not have to teach according to the state standards. Neither do our private schools.
     
  31. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Why not? We do this with just about every other public sector job. (IRS, military, police, politics, now healthcare, etc.)

    I've heard from hundreds of people who try to tell the police what they can and can't do but would never do the job themselves. That's part of the cost of being a citizen-funded operation - like we are.
     
  32. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    But if it's a state standard, it means that we are obligated and even required by law to teach them the evidence supporting what happened at the beginning of the Universe. If they don't learn this it affects their understanding of so many other aspects of science. This really has nothing to do with religion - I don't care what they believe; I need to teach them what they should know - and there's a difference.
     
  33. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    For an entire quarter? Who is responsible for making that alternative assignment?
     
  34. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My understanding is that we are required to OFFER this education. It is the problem of the individual student if he or she doesn't elect to accept and incorporate it into a sphere of knowledge. The way things seem to be working with the new testing / graduation standards, students can earn from 1-5 points for each exam, based on their performance. They will need to earn a total of 18 points minimum on these tests.

    5 – Advanced
    4 – Accelerated
    3 – Proficient
    2 – Basic
    1 – Limited
     
  35. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I had an awesome chat with my principal, who looked like I gave her an ulcer asking about this scenario. While we cannot change the state standards and while students will still be tested over those standards, we also cannot force a student to complete a particular assignment. He / she may miss some key instruction around a standard that will appear on state tests, but we cannot force a child to learn something.
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    ("You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.")
     
  37. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    [​IMG]
     
  38. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (I wish the line were original... but it's well worth stealing.)
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

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    Of course. You can never force any child to learn something.

    You can, however, give zeros when students choose not to participate.
     
  40. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    But this class is a graduation requirement, so if the student fails because of this they will have to take summer school. Where it will be taught again.
     
  41. Pashtun

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    Sounds like an admin, parent and court issue to me.
     
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