Monday, April 04, 2016


New York is once again center stage in the battle over high stakes testing as parents this week across New York State make their final decisions about whether or not to opt their kids out of the meaningless, at least for now, grade 3-8 New York State exams.

This blog, unlike our union's leadership, fully supports the parents opting their kids out of the useless, invalid, unreliable tests that wrongly attempt to show that most of our kids are failing. New York State Allies for Public Education has a refusal letter you can find here.

Education historian and leading critic Diane Ravitch is encouraging the opt-out movement to go national. New Chancellor of the Board of Regents Betty Rosa said that as a parent she would opt her kids out of the tests.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is the highest ranking City official to weigh in on testing.  She sent out an email out last week on opting out of the exams. It is copied below.

It is very difficult to define what would constitute a successful boycott for 2016. I would argue that the movement needs to come close to matching last year's 200,000 plus opt-outs to claim victory. Any growth would be amazing given that the State Education Department, NYSUT and the UFT have tried to say the cosmetic changes the State Education Department have made to the flawed exams make everything better. While many local teacher unions have been supportive, opt-out is primarily a grass roots parent led boycott.

Go parents!


Next week, children across our state will be asked to take the New York State English Language Arts exam and the following week they will be asked to take the New York State Math exam.

There has been a lot of confusion about whether these tests are required. I want to remind you that, as parents, you have the right to opt your child out of this exam with no consequences to you, your child, or your child's school.

If you do choose to make this decision, you must write a letter to your child's principal. More information on how to opt out is available here.

The decision whether to opt out or not is a personal one for each family. As your Public Advocate, I want to ensure that parents know their rights. And that we continue working together to build a school system that offers a holistic education, including arts and physical education, and equips our children for success.

If you have questions or concerns, I urge you to contact my office at 212-669-7250 or
Letitia James
New York City Public Advocate

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