First – HUGE THANKS to everyone who submitted responses to the survey, whether your response was a yes or no. Your voices do matter.
Below, you’ll see the letter that Shawna submitted to the State Board of Education. As promised, your personal information was not shared and will not be. The data that was shared is included for your view below. Also, the link to the survey is included below. Please continue to share this and submit your responses and we’ll continue to work with our elected officials to ensure that they know how you feel.
Should we need to take further action to ensure your voices are heard, we’ll be in touch. Again, thank you! You made this the largest survey!
From: Shawna Fritzler <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Sent: Tue, Feb 9, 2021 3:38 pm
Subject: Public Comment – Testimony to be read at the State Board of Education Meeting regarding CMAS and what parents want.
To: Our Colorado State Board of Education:
Thank you to all for your time listening to testimony. I appreciate your time in reading the following testimony regarding the 2021 CMAS.
I am a parent of a student in Colorado, specifically Jeffco Public Schools. I have been a proponent of student data and continue to believe that it can be used to better serve our students, when used appropriately. However, I am deeply concerned as well as offended after hearing your comments that parents want CMAS to occur this year. In fact, I was so bothered by this statement at your meeting and seeing polling coming into play (specifically persuasive polling) stating that parents are demanding or wanting CMAS that I created my own poll and I want to share this information with you. This year, with the trauma induced conditions on our students and staff, CMAS is an unreasonable request to make of us. Some of those statements tell me that you do not realize what is happening in our homes or schools during this time.
In less than 8 days, I received 1080 responses to my survey. 1028 individuals responded no (that is 95.1851852% NO for CMAS.) 52 individuals responded yes (that is 4.8148148% YES for CMAS.) Interestingly, one of the yes individuals notes that they opt their own child out of CMAS due to the detriment but wants other children to be required to perform. 875 of these individuals are parents. While this survey data is heavy in Jeffco responses (I live in Jeffco), this data represents 43+ school districts in Colorado. I also allowed every respondent to share their reasoning and I submit that to you for your reading pleasure so you can better identify what real parents want and I will continue to collect responses. I do have names and contact information for every respondent on this list, though I have not shared that with you. Additionally, I can prove that none of this data has been altered in any way and I am happy to make it available to any journalist or legislator who wants to view this. There are a small number of duplicate responses that are easily identified.
Also, I want to note that I am personally a parent and spent no funds at all on this survey. None. I’m a mother who volunteers much more than 60 hours per week (and I actually spend my own money to do so) to support public education and students. I am a certified suicide prevention trainer, focusing on youth suicide prevention, and I work with numerous public education supporting nonprofits in completely unpaid roles. I accomplished creating the largest survey response only using Facebook and Twitter but I can guarantee that should I utilize my extensive email lists, I would be able to gather more than double this number.
I am also 100% certain that I will continue to receive responses to this survey as parents have been asking for our legislators to listen to our voices for years. As parents, we will do whatever is necessary to protect our children/students from further stress, including opting out, if our voices are not heard.
You must talk to parents and education staff to understand what is going on in our schools. I would ask that you use this year to improve the procedures for CMAS, eliminating some of the abusive practices that truly harm students as well as educators. I would ask that you think about the potential of using the funding to support the education and mental health of students, rather than high stakes testing. I would also advocate for these large and highly funded entities to step aside and allow the parent voice to be heard rather than continuing to act as if they represent our experiences. Even last February in the legislature, I asked representatives of a group that funded the persuasive yes polls if they even had children – neither were parents nor did they have connection to current education staff. If they want the data in future years, I ask that they partner with real parents and start listening to make things better for all children in Colorado. I am aware that they give large campaign donations but ask that you consider the fact that our children are worth more than any donation you’ll ever receive.
Mom of Morgan
Attached is a PDF of an Excel spreadsheet with the responses to reasoning. You are all more than welcome to contact me if you want to look at more detail from the survey to ensure that you hear the voices of actual parents. You can reach me at X and this email address.