FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 26, 2015
More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190;
NYS Allies for Public Education

                                 Obama & Cuomo’s Education Statements Offer NO Testing Relief or Reduction 

This weekend President Obama’s administration acknowledged its role and responsibility in the massive expansion of testing in schools, and declared US Department of Education would be part of the solution. The “solution” proposed, is a non-binding recommendation to cap the tests at 2% of instructional time.

Parents of New York are not fooled.  They know the cap recommended by President Obama actually is higher than the 1% cap passed by the New York State Legislature in 2014 – a “cap” already violated by the duration of the New York State tests themselves. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the Obama announcement this weekend declaring, “I agree with President Obama and Secretary Duncan that we must reverse the overemphasis on testing.”

Parents of New York do not agree with a solution that is NO SOLUTION from President Obama, his outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan and replacement, embattled former NY Education Commissioner John King.  Their statement this weekend keeps excessive testing exactly where it is and does NOTHING to reduce the tests that parents have cried out for.

President Obama, Governor Cuomo, and new NYS Commissioner Maryellen Elia continue to advance an agenda aligned with their donors and fail to heed the warnings of parents.  Opt-Outs will continue to be necessary until the following policies are implemented:
1.    Student test scores are decoupled from the professional evaluations of teachers.
2.    The Common Core is replaced with the “lost” New York State Standards that were held up to public scrutiny before Race to the Top’s incentive scheme forced the NY        Standards to be abandoned. 
3.    Parental Consent is required for data profiling of students to be shared beyond local community school districts. 

Jeanette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out, “I can already save my own kids from the 2%. It’s the other 98% that revolves around testing that I can’t save them from”. And “after 4 years, the acknowledgement of their policies unintended consequences is little consolation to my children whose entire elementary school careers were defined by testing”. 

“If the Obama administration expects parents to find comfort in their latest acknowledgement over excessive high-stakes testing – this certainly isn’t the first – they are sorely mistaken. Their proposed remedies are nothing more than tweaks to a test-and-punish regime that remains fundamentally unchanged. Nothing short of a full stop will satisfy parents because our children only get one shot at a K-12 education. The Bush-Obama-Gates grand experiment with public education needs to end – now,” said Nancy Cauthen, parent of two high school students in NYC.

“At the end of the day, both Governor Cuomo and President Obama continue to ignore an indisputable truth- the use of test scores to evaluate the efficacy of teachers and schools corrupt both teaching and learning. Under our current system, inappropriate assessments end up setting the pace and content of instruction rather than the needs and interests of students.  A cap on time spent on testing does nothing to ameliorate this,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent and special education teacher.

“It is not enough to talk about reducing the presence of testing, laws must be changed and policy revised in order to protect our children from the consequences of the failed test and punish agenda.  In failing to make real change, these leaders have only fueled parents’ desire to push back against reforms and protect their children,” said Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator and founder of Opt Out CNY.

Katie Zahedi, Dutchess County principal and parent, “This test-based policy distortion could not have occurred in our public schools without collusion between politicians and corporate supporters since the legislature is charged with oversight of public schools. The question is: are our representatives going to take responsibility for the harm to our students and schools along with the waste of public funds that they now acknowledge. If not, are they at least prepared to assure that they will never act with such cavalier arrogance again?” 

“The policies of Cuomo and the Obama Administration have ruined the education of my son, a child with disabilities, who has had to endure five years of their failed policies.  They have also ignored the peer reviewed research on what we need to do to make schools better for our neediest children. We have lost a generation of children, due to their ignorance, egos, and failed policies,” Marla Kilfoyle, Long Island public school parent, educator and BATS Executive Director.

Get your test refusal letter here: and exercise your power NOW to say no to these harmful policies and take back your kid’s classrooms.

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