I have heard from several parents who are concerned that Kingston City School District students will be penalized in some way if they refuse the New York State testing for grades 3-8 which begins tomorrow April 5, 2016.
Some students have been told by teachers that their opportunities for participating in KALP or taking honors courses would be hurt if they did not take the state tests. This is not correct. The state test scores are just one of several factors used in making decisions about KALP and honors courses in Kingston. This has been confirmed with middle school principals and Dr. Padalino so parents/students can opt-out/REFUSE, if that is what they desire to do, without concern for KALP and/or honors course participation.
Many parents are also confused or concerned about refusing the state tests due to the letters sent home this past week from school administrators asking “for your consideration to NOT opt out your students”. Most parents want to support their local teachers, schools and administrators and now if parents refuse the state tests, they are going directly against the stated wishes of those local teachers, schools and administrators.
The KCSD administration clearly stated, when they presented the Annual Summary Report to the Board of Education on Wednesday March 30, that they believe the data points they receive from the New York State tests provide them with valuable information to make decisions about how to teach our students. The letters sent home to all elementary and middle school families this past week asked families to allow their students to take the state tests and participate in this collection of data.
I personally believe that the New York State tests actually cause harm to some students by inappropriately labeling them as failures year after year and that the tests have been used to force Common Core upon us and are part of a plan to break public education. Therefore I can not support the state testing or the use of the state tests to generate data even if the data is useful in some ways. This opinion puts me ‘in conflict’ so to speak with our school district administration but it does not mean that I do not respect our administrators or that I can not work with them. People who care about important issues often disagree with each other and must simply find ways to work together in spite of the disagreements.
I encourage all parents to determine what YOU feel is the right thing for your family to do regarding New York State testing. Examine the information and then proceed with your decision. Do not allow yourself to feel “intimidated” into a decision by anyone (myself included). Also know that there are not supposed to be any rewards for students who take the New York State tests in the Kingston City School District or consequences for students who refuse the New York State tests. If you are aware of a situation where a student is being rewarded or penalized for taking or refusing the state tests, speak to your principal and/or Dr. Padalino so the situation can be rectified.