CSAP boycott basically a no show
EAGLE COUNTY – Eagle County students are now breathing easier that “CSAP” tests are about done. Locally, Colorado Student Assessment Program tests have gone off like government-mandated clockwork.”From the district’s viewpoint, we’re just pleased that CSAP has been underway, and pleased at the effort our teachers and students have been giving it,” said Melinda Gladitsch, spokeswoman for the Eagle County School District.That smooth outcome was somewhat in question a couple of weeks ago when a flyer was circulated to Eagle and Gypsum residents asking them to send a message to the school district by boycotting this year’s CSAP tests. Apparently, either local parents didn’t agree with the proposed boycott, or decided against it after the school district responded by circulating a letter from Superintendent John Brendza advising against the boycott. What is clear, said Gladitsch, is that only one student opted out of the CSAP.The parents of three other students filled out forms initially requesting their children be omitted from the testing. However, after they spoke with their children’s principal they opted to let their children take the tests, Gladitsch said. “There isn’t a lot of support for (the boycott) from what we are seeing,” Gladitsch said. In fact, she says, “we certainly have had comments from people who have been supportive. It really just has not been a big issue.”But parent Glenn Harakal, who called for the boycott, thinks otherwise.Harakal said there are far more disgruntled parents and teachers out there than the boycott results indicate. He said the lack of boycott response has more to do with the fact that his purpose for circulating the boycott flyer has been misunderstood – and misrepresented.”I think the issue has been thrown into a kind of sensationalized story,” he said. “That was not my intent.” In fact, he insists the boycott was not designed as a protest against the CSAP test at all. It was meant to be a protest of the Eagle County School District itself. “It’s really just the means to let these people know they need to be accountable to the district and the parents, and that they can’t just keep moving forward while ignoring what people are saying,” he said. “This is strictly a leverage issue.” Harakal said he objected to being called a “foe” of the school district in a recent headline in the Vail Daily. He assures he is “not an enemy of the state,” but rather a concerned parent. In a recent letter to the editor to the Vail Daily, he listed several issues that trouble him about the district. At the top of that list was what he perceives to be a lack of response to parental concerns.Harakal also has numerous other issues with the school district, which range from the merit of the Teacher Advancement Program to lack of funding for the arts, he said. Harakal has no intention of abandoning his reform efforts, and is glad the boycott at least got the district’s attention, he said. Following spring break, he and a few parents will meet to “get more organized.” He urges others to follow suit. “I think parents need to start getting together and be proactive and help make a change,” Harakal said. Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado
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