When parents refused the New York State standardized Common Core tests last spring, there were high hopes that change would be wrought and we wouldn’t have to be talking about refusing the state tests this year.
Unfortunately over 220,000 parents/students refused the tests and yet not much has changed in New York other than the name of the person who is in charge of the New York State Education Department. Commissioner Elia speaks of change but it is mostly in the future and not really in the areas that matter most to parents.
The students will still be taking developmentally inappropriate tests that are excessively long if they do not refuse the 2016 tests. Even though a new testing company Questar has been hired, the 2016 tests were developed by Pearson. Fifty percent (50%) of teachers’ evaluation will still be based on testing so testing will be the focus of the classrooms throughout the state. The ‘official’ word is that a moratorium is being declared on the standardized tests and the results will not be used. Seems to me like there is no need to administer the tests if the results are not being used. In fact, for schools in receivership the test scores are being used to determine if the school can get out of receivership so there actually is no moratorium.
The question is being asked, are there going to be financial penalties if too many parents/students refuse the state tests in 2016?
You would think we got this settled last year (here and here) but the question raised its ugly head again with a memo from the federal Department of Education in December 2015. Note that the linked memo is actually an annotated version of the memo including a parental response from Jeanette Deutermann, founder of Long Island Opt-Out and NYSAPE.
According to analysis by FairTest, parents can safely refuse/opt-out/boycott standardized testing without fear of federal penalty to their schools.
In fact, the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) specifically authorizes states to allow parents to opt their children out of exams. ESSA does require 95% of students to be tested — but individual states have the power to decide what actions to take if too few students take an exam.
Some states have passed legislation protecting parental rights. Here’s the rub – New York State has not passed such legislation.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco introduced the Common Core Parental Refusal Act in March 2015 which would have given New York State parents the needed protection as well as requiring that parents be notified of their right to refuse. Unfortunately due to party bickering, the majority party decided to introduce their own version of the bill, that lacked the important parental notification requirement, and neither version was passed.
It is now incumbent upon the New York State legislature to pass the Common Core Parental Refusal Act protecting a parent’s right to refuse standardized testing without penalty to the student, teacher, school or school district.
Don’t believe the hype Cuomo and State Ed are spinning! The Common Core Tests are still around to rob children of their love of learning and teachers of their creatitvy. If the changes they are professing to make to Common Core and to the standards are not lived up to, parents need to have in their back pocket a safeguard to opt their children out of the tests without fear of reprisal. Today, I joined my colleagues to talk about education including moving forward with the opt-out movement and codifying into law with the Common Core Parental Refusal Act (A.6025/S.4161) the right of parents to refuse to have their children take the developmentally inappropriate standardized tests without fear of any penalty to the students, teachers or schools. Sign the petition today at www.refusecommoncore.com!
— James Tedisco at New York State Capitol.
Support the Common Core Parental Refual Act by signing the petition here.
Also contact your legislators and tell them to demand that the Common Core Parental Refusal Act A.6025/S.4161 be moved out of the Education committee and voted into law!