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State Test Refusals are Exploding as Parents Discover Legislature Brings No Relief

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2014
CONTACT:
Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com
Jeanette Deutermann (516) 902-9228; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org

Despite the ineffective attempt by the State Legislature and the Governor to defuse parent anger by falsely claiming that the budget bill will cause a “pause” in the implementation of the Common Core, growing numbers of parents throughout the State will have their children refuse the NY State exams, which begin on April 1st.  Thousands have already submitted letters to their principals informing them that their children will not take the tests.  At this point, we have reports from across the state that students are refusing the tests in record numbers. NYSAPE reports that at least 272 districts, (which represent 40% of the state’s districts) will have students refusing the test.  In some of those districts, over one third of the parents have already sent letters informing their principals that their children will opt out.  As more parents report in, we expect that number to grow significantly.

Lori Griffin, Copenhagen public school parent and educator says, “Parents will not be fooled by this mediocre attempt to appease their demands to stop aggressively pushing forward with a flawed program that is harming kids.”

Danielle Boudet, parent and co-founder of Oneonta Area for Public Education said, “Regardless of whether the budget bill is approved, our children will still be subjected to inappropriate expectations tied to excessive testing with high-stakes consequences.  Until we see happier children coming home, the Pearson worksheets and scripted curricula disappearing, and the test prep going away, we need to make sure our voices are still loud and clear by refusing the Common Core exams due to begin Tuesday, April 1st.”

“Although we were promised a true moratorium on stakes attached to the tests for kids, the legislature did not deliver. Their meaningless recommendations only serve as a distraction from the true matters at hand: excessive high stakes testing, developmentally inappropriate standards that widen the achievement gap, and an invasion of family privacy.  The number of parents refusing tests on behalf of their children has already reached record highs across the state as the public realizes that when it comes to the education of their children, specific action must take place now.” said Jessica McNair, New Hartford public school parent.

“The NY State Education Department is moving ahead with the same failed testing program that was so out of touch with curriculum and students last year.  On April 1st, schools are again faced with tests that will be developmentally inappropriate for public school children at their respective grade levels. Many parents are refusing to have their children participate in these assessments. Since one of the goals of the NYSED in harvesting assessment data is to evaluate those in charge of student education, it should be applied (beyond teachers) to those same NYSED officials at the helm of this disastrous initiative,” said Katie Zahedi, principal of Linden Avenue Middle School.

“In addition to not addressing the problems with the Common Core and testing, the bill did not go far enough in protecting the privacy of students,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters, “This bill would allow the state to continue invading student privacy by disclosing their most personal information to for-profit vendors.  It is not even clear if its provisions would stop the Commissioner’s plan to share our children’s most private data with inBloom Inc.  The bill also represents a massive giveaway to billionaires and hedge funders, intent on privatizing public schools through the expansion of charter schools.  To serve and protect the interests of public schoolchildren, our legislators should vote no on this bill, and parents should deny the state the data, by having their children say no to the state exams.”

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