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Parents Challenge South Carolina Testing
No Summer Break From Problems With Special Ed, Ed Week, June 21, 2011
Testing, No Testing, Too Much Testing, Ed Week, October 7, 2011
Test Result: No School for Student with Asperger's Syndrome, Ed Week, October 14, 2011

Useful Documents

Response from a school policy administrator to a senator who wrote a letter on behalf of a parent. The letter falsely claims that the test are required under the Secondary and Elementary Education Act.


Doctor's note that was giving to the school advising that parent Gretchen Herrara's son should be able to opt out. The school dismissed the note and demanded he take the test despite the fact that doing so would cause stress that would make him ill.

From a SCPCSD (South Carolina Public Charter School District) letter to parents.. "What is AYP?
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is a measurement defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It contains three components:
1. Testing participation
2. Testing performance in ELA and Math
3. Attendance (Elementary/Middle) or Graduation rate (if the school has 12th grade)
The first two components each contain several objectives. A school must meet ALL objectives to “meet AYP”. If a school does not meet AYP for two years, it must offer school choice to parents. Failure to meet AYP for three or more years will result in sanctions that may include supplemental services, corrective action, and restructuring.

Notification from South Carolina Virtual Charter School to parent Gretchen Herrera, received on Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dear Learning Coach,
The South Carolina Virtual Charter School is a virtual public school of choice, whereby students and their learning coaches are required to follow school policies and procedures to remain compliant and in good standing. As you recall, as part of the enrollment process, we requested that all families carefully read the 2011-12 Parent Student Handbook, sign the contract (located on page 27) and return to your homeroom teacher. By your signature and that of your son/daughter, this indicates your commitment to adhere to the schools rules and regulations addressed in the document.

Please understand that as a virtual public school we are obligated to the same state policies and procedures that our sister brick and mortar schools are required to follow. Therefore, we are accountable for student attendance, progress, reading, and answering K mails, submitting work and attendance at state testing and overall, being in good standing with the school

As a result of your decision of being non-compliant, your student will officially be withdrawn from SCVCS October 10, 2011 and their name and contact information will be forwarded to the public school district in which you reside.

In closing, I am disappointed that SCVCS virtual learning did not meet your expectation and I wish you the best in your future endeavor.


Director of Elementary and Middle School Education

Mrs. Herrera's reply to SCVCS notification, shared on October 11, 2011
Ms. Reid,
I received a letter from you stating that my son is withdrawn from your school effective 10/10 because I refused to let him take the PASS test.

My son is a 12 year old little boy with Aspergers and a brittle diabetic. I presented Cherry Daniels and Donna Strom with a letter from his diabetes team stating my son should NOT take the test. It stated clearly that he would have a dramatic reaction in his health, but still he took the first part.

My son's blood sugar spiked over 200 points in 30 minutes.
I had sent ANOTHER letter in as well to his homeroom teacher stating that not only did his blood sugar go up, but while there was all of this turmoil, after I refused to let him get ill AGAIN by finishing the PASS tests, his overall blood sugar (A1C) was dangerously high! All of the stress he went through over will he or won't he be allowed to come back because he didn't return to a situation that made him physically and dangerously ill caused his A1C to reach 9.0 from a 7.0! That is documented.

Your school ignored the letter from his endocrinology team and subsequently caused him to be in a very harmful situation with his health.

Your letter states that you have to follow the SAME rules and regulations of the brick and mortar schools of this state. I have spoken to the SC DoE and was told my son can go in, sign in and leave. That would fulfill his participation. I have also spoken to my child's special needs director for Palmetto Pediatric and was told children with my son's illness and disabilities have been opted out before.

You had the appropriate documentation. Your school had a letter in hand stating clearly NOT for Anthony to take the PASS test. There was no doubt about what it was saying.

Yet, because he has a disability that exacerbates an already tricky condition, you've removed him from your school.

From where I sit Ms. Reid, your school is valuing it's testing prowess higher than a child's health.

Now surely, that can't be. Can it?

You were correct in your closing line. SCVCS didn't meet my son's needs. I trusted your school would WANT to keep my child safe. I see I was wrong.

Gretchen Herrera