Outspoken Common Core and PSSA opponent Joanne Yurchak of West Chester sent the below email with a request for broadcasting it expressing her concerns regarding United Opt Out which will be hosting its Fifth Annual conference in Philadelphia, Feb. 26-28.
If you click on the link for it, one will understand her concerns.
When one finds oneself allied with Bill Ayers, one does start to question one’s precepts.
Anyway here is Joanne’s email:
At the outset I will tell you that some of you receiving this E-Mail might disagree with my statements. If ANYONE wishes to be off my distribution list, please let me know.
As you know, I and many others have been active in encouraging students to opt out of the PSSA’s and Keystones for a variety of reasons. I am attaching a Letter to the Editor that was published in three local newspapers that encourages parents to opt out of these tests, which could, if enacted in large numbers, prompt Harrisburg to “devise a less disruptive and more appropriate assessment system in which students are the prime beneficiaries, in contrast to the current system which exploits students and uses them as unwilling “operatives” for rating educators and schools.”
So…that’s where I’m coming from. There are different groups with very diverse political viewpoints working on this worthwhile opt out movement. Political agendas should NOT be involved in an educational effort of this sort which is why I thought it would be no problem for all of us to work together. Something that came to my attention yesterday changed my mind. I will explain below.
I was sent an E-Mail yesterday by an activist in the Philadelphia opt out movement that stated: “UOO (United Opt Out) will be hosting its fifth annual meeting here in Philadelphia in February. We’re coming to the issue from a pretty radical left position, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are interested, here’s the link to the event: http://unitedoptout.com/2015/06/29/uoo-conference-february-26-28-2016-transcending-resistance-igniting-revolution/
There will be keynote speakers, panels, and working groups on a variety of topics and it will draw education activists from across the country.”
The phrase “radical left position” got my attention and after accessing the web site for United Opt Out I found that the description of UOO was an understatement. I urge you to read information on the web site so you can decide for yourself. The event has the inflammatory title “Transcending Resistance, Igniting Revolution,” and on the fundraising page (http://www.gofundme.com/yhb5cb3) has such seditious comments as: “It is time for revolution,” and “It is time for non-negotiable demands.” Although I realize that Bill Ayers has had his hands on educational “reform” for years, eschewing individualism and promoting collectivism, the fact that this domestic terrorist was selected as a Keynote speaker is simply beyond my comprehension.
I will say that I agree with many of the contentions of UOO such as the inappropriateness of the massive testing and their well-founded assertions and concerns that educational (and other) corporations are making huge profits on the backs of our children. That said, after reviewing the biographies of the speakers, the titles of the breakout sessions and the terminology on the web page, it is apparent to me that United Opt Out is just one of a variety of radical-Left groups that have political agendas that extend beyond education and that are collaborating to break down our current political system as we know it. Believe me, I’m NOT saying there aren’t problems and deficiencies in our system that need to be addressed, but these groups, in my opinion, are out to demolish it and remake it to fit their far-Left agenda. I believe that continuing to work together with revolutionary groups such as this, even for an issue on which we agree, could facilitate their efforts in other areas which is why I have determined not to do so.
Thanks for listening. I have provided the resources and web sites for you in this E-mail and urge you to read them and make your own decision about this group — United Opt Out. It is truly a shame that individuals in Philadelphia and elsewhere, in conjunction with UOO, have interjected such far-Left partisan agendas into the legitimate opt out effort.
West Chester, PA
Here is the attached letter.