California Principal Retracts Common Core Punishment

Chloe Stevenson | Contributor

At Calabasas High School in Los Angeles, Calif., a principal has taken back her original punishment against students who opted out of taking Common Core tests. She has retracted her plans because of a threat from the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal defense organization.

Common Core testing is an educational initiative that determines what students should know in language arts and math at the end of each grade year. The initiative seeks to establish consistent educational standards across the nation.

California regulates that parents are allowed to exempt their children from statewide assessments, such as Common Core. This regulation is known as CAASP and Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) claims that this right has been exercised more frequently in the recent years.

Pacific Justice Institute estimates, in their press release from last week, nearly 75% of the junior class at Calabasas High School opted out of the exam because of the highly controversial implementation of new testing aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

C.J. Foss, the school’s principal, sent out an email last week to the students claiming that certain senior privileges would be revoked. These rising seniors were no longer allowed to use school parking lots or to take part in senior class activities.

Outraged by the principal’s decisive actions, parents and students reached out to Pacific Justice Institute, hoping to retaliate against Principal Foss.

On Wednesday, Pacific Justice Institute Senior Counsel Michal J Peffer sent a letter to Foss demanding her illegal student payback be rescinded immediately.

President of Pacific Justice Institute, Brad Dacus, declared that, “A principal absolutely cannot punish students because their parents exercised their legal rights.  We have now seen a number of educrats pretend as though these opt-out rights do not exist, but this is a new low.”

Following the letter she received, Foss has abruptly changed course and said, in her interview with FoxNews, that she realized there was really no stress on the importance of the test, originally. It was only until she sent out a second email, offering a chance for parents and students to opt-back-in, that the test’s importance was fully laid out.

“In the past, we have required participation in the test for various activities. However, after talking with the students and staff, I realized that before the test this year we did not communicate the importance of participating in the test, so we will not withhold participation in the activities,” Foss stated.

With this, Foss took it upon herself to send out yet another email to parents and students, formerly going back on her initial punishments.

After her interview, Pacific Justice Institute and Dacus had the final word:

“We are pleased that Principal Foss appears to be abandoning her ill-conceived attempt to retaliate against students for exercising their educational rights. At the same time, her public statements indicate that she does not fully appreciate the school’s legal obligations to respect parents’ decisions about testing. We will continue to work toward full resolution  to ensure this type of retaliation does not happen again to our clients or anyone else.”

Common Core punishment has been an ongoing debate as many administrators have not been sitting well with the high percentage of parents exercising their rights.

For more awareness and understanding on the California opt-out movement, there is a Facebook page to help inspire parents and assure they hold the power in their children’s education.

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