Some parents gearing up to opt their kids out of standardized tests

Mar 27, 2017
Originally published on March 29, 2017 12:55 pm

Leaders of the opt-out movement say they're still not pleased with New York state's Common Core-based tests and the pressures they place on students and teachers.

Last year, there were about 250,000 students across the state who opted out of the exams. As officials prepare to administer the English language arts exams this week to students in grades 3 through 8, some are expecting similar refusal numbers this year. 

"The changes that were put in last year will be the same changes this year, and I know that for some parents there aren't enough changes," said Sherry Johnson, executive director of the Monroe County School Boards Association. "But I think at this point, this is what our school districts are working with."

The effort comes even though the tests don’t affect students’ records and a moratorium was agreed to last year on Gov. Cuomo’s attempt to tie the results to a teacher evaluation system.

Supporters say the tests let districts know what works and what doesn’t. Johnson says those who oppose have begun planting lawn signs in Rochester neighborhoods and maintain a strong social media presence.

"The yard signs are black and white and they say, 'Opt Out Now' and also how they can find the form or method or all of the information they need in order to make that happen," she said.

High Achievement New York, an education, business and community group coalition, last week began an opt-in campaign.

“These tests are vitally important,” the group says on its website. “They tell you how your kid is doing and help close achievement gaps. But they only work if everyone opts in.”

The math exams are slated for May 2, 3 and 4.