Tag Archives: NYS Allies for Public Education

It is time for Kingston parents to REFUSE the New York State Math Test

iREFUSE Math test

Up to this point I have not publicly stated that parents should refuse the New York State tests.  I have provided information for those who were looking for information and might not know where to find it.  I have shared the personal decision of my family to refuse the state tests for our student but I have not advocated that Kingston parents as a whole should band together in REFUSAL of the New York State tests.  However, after attending the screening of “Standardized – Lies, Money & Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education” today, I feel compelled to take a personal stand regarding testing and ask parents in Kingston to REFUSE the New York State math test which starts this Wednesday April 30, 2014.

Green Laces

I have already shared my personal thoughts regarding the lack of value I find in the state tests for my middle school student.  Her green laces indicate that she does not support standardized testing.  Many are writing personal stories and/or scholarly articles regarding testing.  Some support standardized testing, some are against standardized testing.

You can find reasons why New York State thinks your student should take the test both on our local KCSD website and engageNY.org .

Here are some links for you to consider about why you might chose to have your student REFUSE the state test:

Refuse the tests in 2014 – the tipping point – a teacher, from a district even more diverse than Kingston, writes of the impact last year’s test had on students and the fears for this year

(excerpts from Refuse the tests in 2014 – the tipping point )

We – all of us – are allowing these children to be harmed, abused and denied their right to a creative, innovative, humane and democratic education.  We are denying children the opportunity to BE children. We are denying these children their futures. We have helped create this, due to trust, due to not knowing, due to lack of support, due to many things – but we must take responsibility for it, and together, stand up and make it right.

As we watch children test daily and lose precious learning time,

As we watch children say, while shuddering, “I am scared that my score will harm my teacher – I am afraid I will get her fired,”

As we watch children pull their hair out, bite their nails to the quick, throw up, and cry,

We need educators, parents, and citizens, standing together – now – to stop this. We cannot do it alone. And the silence is deafening.  There is nothing left to fear as we have lost it all.

We have pockets of resistance. We have swellings of resistance. We must have mass resistance. And we must not compromise. Common core and high stakes testing, both must go, if we truly plan to stand up for children and demand that they receive all of the resources, all of the authentic teaching and learning received by Obama’s children at Sidwell.


We Need to Talk about the Test – Principal Elizabeth Phillips from New York City explains why her school held a protest rally the day after the ELA test the beginning of April

(excerpts from Principal Phillips’ op-ed article We Need to Talk about the Test in The New York Times April 9, 2014)

I’D like to tell you what was wrong with the tests my students took last week, but I can’t. Pearson’s $32 million contract with New York State to design the exams prohibits the state from making the tests public and imposes a gag order on educators who administer them. So teachers watched hundreds of thousands of children in grades 3 to 8 sit for between 70 and 180 minutes per day for three days taking a state English Language Arts exam that does a poor job of testing reading comprehension, and yet we’re not allowed to point out what the problems were.

I want to be clear: We were not protesting testing; we were not protesting the Common Core standards. We were protesting the fact that we had just witnessed children being asked to answer questions that had little bearing on their reading ability and yet had huge stakes for students, teachers, principals and schools.

In general terms, the tests were confusing, developmentally inappropriate and not well aligned with the Common Core standards. The questions were focused on small details in the passages, rather than on overall comprehension, and many were ambiguous.


11 problems created by the standardized testing obsession – The Washington Post April 22, 2014

NYS Students and Teachers Feedback 2014 video


Diane Ravitch writes that by REFUSING the state tests, we deny the data that is needed to keep the testing machine going.  Perhaps your student is not currently being hurt by the tests but other children are being damaged by the standardized tests.  Please join together as Kingston parents and parents throughout New York State and lets put a stop to this madness!

Do additional research if you need to.  E-mail or call me if you want to talk further about the topic.  Please consider being a part of bringing about change for the students of New York State by REFUSING the New York State math test this week (April 30, May 1 and May 2, 2014).

Find instructions for refusing the state test here.



Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on these pages are the personal opinions of myself, Jolyn Safron, and have not been endorsed or approved by the parent groups of which I am a part unless explicitly stated.

April and High-Stakes Tests are just around the corner

April means the start of ‘test season’ especially since Common Core with the increased emphasis on high stakes testing via the New York State Tests and SLOs (Student Learning Objectives)  was implemented.  There are SLOs at the beginning of the year to set benchmarks and some high stakes testing throughout the year but things really kick in about now.

Upcoming spring testing was a topic of discussion at the March 6, 2014 District Wide Parents’ Council meeting and the DWPC Parent Calendar has been updated with known test dates K-12.  Regents tests and other tests that actually affect a student’s grades are not listed.

The Kingston City School District has clarified for parents that “[KCSD] does not have a practice of leaving students without exams to just sit and stare at their classroom walls.  [They] believe in treating all students with respect and compassion.”  The remainder of the response in Setting the Record Straight changed slightly since being initially posted this afternoon as to whether the students refusing the tests would be in a separate location or with the other students taking tests so that might vary from school to school but parents can be confident that their children will not ‘sit and stare’ during the time state tests are administered.  Be sure to get the written letter refusing the test submitted soon though if you believe that your student should not take the state tests.

New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) issued a statement today expressing concern that some districts might require students to give a verbal refusal of the test in addition to the written letter submitted by the parent.  However I believe that all Kingston students will indeed be treated with respect and compassion during the administration of the state tests and parents who have decided to refuse the test for their child can rest confident that their child will not be forced to give a verbal refusal.

Parents might be interested in checking out documents on the NYSED Office of State Assessment website such as school administrator’s manuels or teacher’s directions for the various New York State tests to see the extremes that our teachers and administrators are forced to go to to ensure that the tests are ‘secure’.  One could be excused for thinking they were entering a maximum-security facility on testing days rather than an educational building.

Test books and scoring materials must be kept secure. You are not to discuss the test, show it to anyone, or photocopy the materials, as the security of the test could be breached.   2014 Common Core English Language Arts Tests Teacher’s Directions p. IV

Teachers and administrators who engage in inappropriate conduct with respect to administering and scoring State assessments may be subject to disciplinary actions in accordance with Sections 3020 and 3020-a of Education Law or to action against their certification pursuant to Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. – 2014 Common Core English Language Arts Test Teacher’s Direction p. 1

Pages 11-14 of “2014 Common Core English Language Arts Test Teacher’s Directions” contain the directions that the teacher administering the test must read word-for-word to the third grade students on Day 1 of the test and then make sure that the students totally understand.  Five pages of directions!!  Only four pages of directions for day 2 of testing and three pages of directions for day 3 so it gets a little better each day – whew!