PARCC PROTEST SPEECH FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY DAY PRESS CONFERENCE (Feb. 27, 2015)
Hello, my name is Melachai Ramirez. I am a representative for Santa Fe High School and other schools district wide. I would like the opportunity to thank every single person who came out this entire week to help protest standardized tests and our education system.
You people are all leaders, without you, these protests wouldn’t make as much of an impact. I feel as if most people are still confused about the movement and are still not fully informed about the real issues here. This is why I am here today. I am here today to clarify what our main goals are and to stop false information given out by other peers and adults throughout social media and television media.
The PARCC test is one of our first opportunities to demonstrate competency toward graduation. We are allowed to try to demonstrate our skills another way if we have attempted the state required standardized test, which is now PARCC. Our guidance counselor can provide a full list of alternative demonstrations of competency (ADCs) which are available in each subject area. If you do not take the standardized test you are required to demonstrate your skills in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies in order to graduate. You must take the PARCC exam unless you have a parent signed refusal form prior to taking it. If you miss your scheduled exam due to an absence, you must take it during a makeup session. If your parent has not submitted a refusal form, failure to take the PARCC test can jeopardize your chances of graduating and/or graduating on time.
There has been a ton of confusion regarding the chances of jeopardizing your high school diploma. You will only jeopardize your chances by refusing to take the test without parent consent. If your parent decides to opt you out of the PARCC test a new door will be opened to alternative demonstrations of competency.
We are not only here to protest the standardized tests. We are also here to discuss the education system in our state. New Mexico is ranked 49th in the country for education. We need to change this number! We want to expand our Sustainability program (known as ASE, the Academy for Sustainability Education) at Santa Fe High School throughout the district in a proper manner. ASE is directed towards the exercise of education by kinetic learning and real world activities. ASE will help us change New Mexico’s future in so many different ways. From taking on the era of renewable energy, to helping the homeless into homes, and even taking a step into green building, everything that has to do with real situations in life, ASE provides. ASE will teach us how to take on these real world problems so we can make a difference in our community and get out of the “pothole” that this education system dug us into.
We need to be taught how to make a difference in our communities here in New Mexico and all over the world. My education as well as every public school student in New Mexico is based off a test that has no real world purpose and is only used to categorize the children of New Mexico. School makes a huge impact on a child’s life if they are taught correctly about how to take on the real world problems that we face today and in the near future. School does not take a positive role if we are using it to just categorize everybody who is in it by taking these standardized tests. What Pearson doesn’t realize is that we all have a future. They are giving us this test to fail! Pearson is just in it for the money, plain and simple. They are a multibillion dollar corporation who is giving us a test to fail and make money off our failure.
I personally will not give up for what I believe in. I will fight these standardized tests, I will fight the Board of Education, I will protest until changes are made. I want to make a difference in our community. If you understand where we are coming from here, please join us and help us take a step closer to our goals. Standardized tests will no longer control who we really are. We want change and change starts NOW!