Please share this letter - revise, add to it, do whatever you must to make it work for your situation. If you need assistance in revision please let me know. I can be reached at email@example.com. I will soon have it in Spanish and please let me know what other translations are needed. Please protect our children, demand they receive authentic learning and authentic instruction and shelter them from corporate entities and mandates which rob them of their childhoods.
Many thanks in advance,
Teaching Strategies GOLD Refusal Letter
Dear (Name of Administrator, Teacher),
I am writing to let you know that I am refusing to allow my child’s information to be gathered for the Teaching Strategies GOLD online database and/or for the district or state department of education database. I also refuse to allow my child’s information to be gathered specifically for GOLD on paper (such as observations and/or quotes of my child’s comments), in photographs and on video – even if it is NOT uploaded. I refuse to allow my child to participate for many reasons.
First, I refuse because I recognize that my child’s teacher already knows how to assess and evaluate the strengths, attempts and needs of my child using his/her own personal assessment methods. My child’s teacher can document my child’s growth and development using post-its, clipboard notes, and any other form that fits his/her teaching style. I am fine with my child’s teacher jotting quotes and any observations about my child if it indeed helps him/her assess the needs of my child – not the needs of GOLD. Teachers already know how to assess and do not need a corporate assessment to do so.
Second, GOLD is cumbersome and takes my child’s teacher away from the teaching moment. I do not wish for my child’s teacher to spend his/her time snapping photos, scripting what my child says, or leaving the teaching moment to rush to the computer or Ipad in order to add GOLD data. I want my child’s teacher to sit beside my child and engage and interact – not serve as a data manager.
Third, GOLD is intrusive. I do not believe that anyone needs this much information on my child (thousands of data points). I believe the only people that need to see any information about my child include the teacher, myself - the parents, and any other educators within the school who currently support my child’s needs as a learner. I do not give permission for the school district or the department of education to gather or view this very private information about my child’s social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, mathematics, science & technology, social studies, arts, and/or development within language acquisition. I can learn about all of this by speaking one on one with my child’s teacher (p/t conference), by viewing the report card, and by viewing my child’s work via portfolio assessment.
Fourth, GOLD is expensive. I am interested in my tax dollars being used to support authentic teaching and learning – not corporate assessments. I would like my tax dollars to be spent on books, libraries, librarians, art, music, PE, small class size, and more. I will not support any initiatives, such as GOLD, in which my tax dollars profit corporations and rob schools of much needed funding. Currently, many districts have hired para professionals to enter GOLD data. Many districts also give preschool teachers a day off to enter GOLD data. If teachers are given a day off and/or para professionals are hired, I prefer they use this time to prepare to teach my child the next day. They should not be laboring at a computer entering data points. Finally, many teachers have been given Ipads in order to enter GOLD data. I am not opposed to teachers having Ipads; however, I am opposed to the idea that funding suddenly tends to appear when more data is needed to profit the corporations. Where is the funding for libraries? Librarians? Art?
Fifth, GOLD robs teachers of their autonomy. GOLD takes away a teacher’s ability to make professional decisions. Teachers already have their own personal systems in place for assessment, evaluation, planning and instruction. Time spent entering GOLD data is wasted – this time should be spent engaging with children and allowing teachers to do what they need to do in order to be prepared each day to teach. Teachers need time to plan for instruction. GOLD is such a cumbersome assessment that there is NO time left to evaluate and plan for instruction. My child’s teacher is a professional. I trust my child’s teacher to assess – he/she does not need a corporate assessment.
Sixth, GOLD collects too much data. I do not want my child’s development to be charted with such detail and with such incremental steps. My child’s teacher can inform me of all of this within one parent/teacher conference. No one needs this much data on my child. Teachers are able to articulate the progress of my child concisely and without thousands of useless data points. When data collection becomes so cumbersome, we can also be certain that instruction will become more lockstep in order to actually assess each data point. Scripted curriculum typically goes hand in hand with detailed data collection, and I fear that many authentic activities may disappear due to the need to “create” a moment to collect what GOLD needs – rather than – what my child needs.
Seventh, I noticed that GOLD is aligned with the common core. The common core standards are developmentally inappropriate for young children. Therefore, I have grave concerns about what this might look like in the classroom. I would like my child to play at reading, play at writing, explore numbers, music, art, PE, and learn to socialize with his/her peers - without someone standing by with an Ipad ready to click a video or picture while scripting my child’s words to determine if my child is meeting the common core standards. Standards do not teach. Teachers teach. My child’s teacher and I know what is best for my child – the common core standards are not.
Finally, Teaching Strategies GOLD is only in Spanish and English. Therefore, many parents will not even know what it is and how it is being used. This concerns me greatly as I know that the corporate reforms currently harm our minority families most intensely. These parents may not even know that such immense data is being collected on their children and uploaded to a corporate, district and/or state database.
I will not be signing the school permission slip which allows photos and videos to be taken of my child if this is going to include Teaching Strategies GOLD. I simply request that my child be assessed using portfolio assessment and teacher observations, all of which are housed only in my child’s classroom and NOT on the Teaching Strategies GOLD database and/or the district and state database.