Second call for CSAP boycott
EAGLE – PEEVED – Parents of Eagle Valley Education – is not a perfect acronym, but it represents how Glenn Harakal feels about the Eagle County School District. Eagle resident and father of two, Harakal said he founded PEEVED about a month ago to mobilize parents to speak out against the school district. So far, he said he’s gathered about a dozen members, but he wouldn’t release their names. He said he would contact the group’s members and ask them to contact the Vail Daily, but none have done so as of Monday. However, the group, or rather Harakal, has managed to send its first mailer to Eagle and Gypsum residents. Fashioned after a ballot Harakal mailed to Eagle residents in February, he once again called for parents to raise their voices against the district through an unofficial vote. Like the February mailer, the flyer encouraged parents to remove their children from the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests commonly referred to as “the CSAPs.” “This is not a boycott of CSAPs, but a boycott of this school district administration,” Harakal wrote in the mailer. “By voting, you are part of a united parent group to make this school district accountable.”
‘We’re letting it go’Because CSAP tests scores help determine school funding, getting kids to abstain from taking the test will weaken the district’s scores and funds, making them susceptible to reform, Harakal said. And Harakal has his own brand of reform in mind. In February, the school district had responded swiftly, sending its own letter to all parents in the district. Superintendent John Brendza warned taking kids out of the test is illegal, but Melinda Gladitsch, spokeswoman for the district added that although illegal, there is no punishment for not taking the CSAP tests. The district has said all its wants to on the matter, and this time around, it isn’t going to react. “This flyer was very similar to the last one, so we’re going to let it go,” Gladitsch said. Reason for flyer No. 2Mitch Forsberg, the principal of Gypsum Elementary School, said both flyers have left him puzzled about what Harakal is trying to accomplish. Harakal said his latest flyer responds to the school district’s letter – a letter that was, he said, “sent to parents to intimidate them into not withholding their children from CSAPs.” But Brendza disagreed, saying his letter’s sole purpose was to clarify the inaccuracies of Harakal’s flyer. Harakal added he’s heard of parents being “pressured to change their minds,” when returning the ballot requesting their children not take the CSAP test. He said one man was told his child wouldn’t get in certain classes if he didn’t take the CSAP tests, because admission into the class is based on CSAP scores. But Harakal admitted this explanation doesn’t really work because students sign up for classes before CSAP scores are calculated. Widening circle of influenceHarakal said he broadened the scope his mailing because people in Gypsum told him they felt “left out of the issue.”Harakal also said the new flyer delves into parental rights – like the right to take a child out of testing even though it’s against the law. “I have the right to decide what is best for my child,” he said. “I think it’s important for this community to weigh all sides and aspects of the issue,” Harakal added. “I also think it’s important for parents to make a stand and boycott this school district administration.”Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or email@example.com. Vail, Colorado
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