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WASL War Update

Susan Notes: Here's your chance to do something for the resistance.

Here is grassroots activism at its best. The leader, Juanita Doyon, is a candidate for Washington superintendent of public instruction. Imagine that. A mom who has been active in schools for 20 years, a mom who has written an award-winning book about how parents can make their schools better, a mom who is affectionately known as the button queen has set out to change the world.
(see http://susanohanian.org/buttons.html)

Are you feeling helpless against Standardisto control? You can change that. You can have a part in changing the world. Contribute to Juanita's campaign. Her election matters to anybody who cares about the survival of public educaton. Bringing down the Standardistos in one state will revitalize resistance across the country. When Juanita takes office, we will all be stronger.

You can use PayPal at her website, or send a check to:
Juanita 2004 SPI
P. O. Box 494
Spanaway, WA 98387

by Juanita Doyon

Here we are, a little over a month from WASL season. Test prep packets fill backpacks and desks of 4th, 7th and 10th graders, and some administrators have been informing parents that they are not allowed to opt their children out of the test.

To set the record completely straight, I attended a forum in Tumwater, where the current state superintendent was presenting. I informed her that parents are being told it is not legal to opt children out of WASL, and I asked her to clarify this for me. She assured me that Washington law allows parents to opt their children out. There you have it. If your district or school gives you any guff, just refer them to the state superintendent's office.

Another thing that is happening, when parents turn in opt out forms, is that school officials are saying the school is not required to provide alternative activities while other students are being tested. While a child is in the care of the school, the school is responsible for providing appropriate activities. Children who are opted out of WASL should not be punished by being sent to the detention room or subjected to boredom inducing lack of activity.

Reading in the library is an activity. Helping in the office is an activity. Tutoring younger students is an activity. If your school is one that awards class credit (or anything else) for taking the WASL, be sure to stress that you want your child to have the opportunity to earn that credit in a different manner.

If parents anticipate a problem, I suggest making a list of activity suggestions and attaching it to the opt out letter or form. You'll find an opt out form in the Mothers Against WASL section of my website www.juanita2004spi.com
Be sure to talk with the principal and/or teacher to be sure your opt out decision is respected and followed.

Please contact me or join the Mothers Against WASL listserv for help, if you encounter opt out attitude problems in your school or district. There are 44 of us there now, and some great suggestions and help being exchanged.


We are planning WASL protest activities for the next 2 months. These will include several Mothers Against WASL meetings--wherever anyone has an interest in getting a group together, small or large. I will be presenting at Kirkland Library, April 5th, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. We're still working on venues and dates for Snohomish and Vancouver, and I will post these as soon as we finalize them. Let me know if you'd like me to add your area to the list and we can work on a date. I still have a few little blank squares on my calendar.

On April 19th, the first day of the testing "window," we are planning a WASL
Walk Out to Olympia. This will be during the school day, and we will walk from the capitol grounds to OSPI, where we will hold a press conference. In 2001 and 2002, we held WASL Walks, but we skipped it last year. The two we had were successful, and the tape is still played on the news whenever a WASL story
is presented. Time to give the stations some new footage! Mark your calendars! More details to follow.

I encourage everyone to hold at least one corner rally in their area this year. The Lake Stevens crew has been holding up those "Honk! NO WASL" signs 2 or 3 times already, and they have traveled to different venues each time.
Great, great, great!!! If you're shy to protest in your own district, try a neighboring district. Better yet, if you have friends in a nearby district who will join you, do two rallies together.

— Juanita Doyon
WASL War Update



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