Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Andrew Cuomo Has Thrown Fuel Onto The Opt Out Fire

The opt out movement was already growing, with more parents expected to opt their children out of the state tests this year over last, but the fires of that movement were fanned after Cuomo shoved through his evaluation system into the state budget:

The Working Families Party has joined the fray over using standardized tests to evaluate teachers.
The political party was one of three organizations that sent out email blasts Monday urging their members to direct their children to “opt out” of the statewide English Language Arts tests that begin next week for elementary and middle school students.

“For parents concerned about the harm being caused by this increasing focus on testing, 'opting out' is a powerful option – a kind of civil disobedience in response to a testing regime imposed by politicians, many of whom haven't spent any significant time in a public school classroom,” Working Families Party State Director Bill Lipton said in an email blast sent to the party’s mailing list.
Two other organizations, Citizen Action of New York and the Alliance for Quality of Education, also sent mass email messages Monday telling parents how they could have their children refuse the exams.

“Last year, over 60,000 parents opted out of testing for their students. It’s one strong way to show Governor Cuomo, the legislature and the Board of Regents that it’s time to stop over testing students, demonizing teachers and undermining our public education system,” wrote Citizen Action Executive Director Karen Scharff in an email to its members. “It’s time for a teacher evaluation system that is based on sound research, not soundbites.”

The calls for more test refusals come a week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers pushed through the framework for a new teacher evaluation system that continues to link student scores on standardized tests to teacher reviews.

Scharff said concern over the new teacher evaluation system led to the decision to send out the emails in support of the opt out movement Monday.

Last week, the head of the statewide teachers union, New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee, also urged parents to direct their children not to take the exams.

Organizers of a movement aimed at getting more children to opt out of the exams hope to increase the number of students who refuse the tests this year.

Cuomo won a battle when he successfully imposed his education reform agenda that is so tied to testing onto the state despite widespread disapproval of that agenda.

But the fight goes on and more and more individuals and groups are joining it, in part because Governor Cuomo imposed his unpopular education reform agenda late last month.


  1. Let's imagine a relatively small school district like mine (1,800 students). And lets imagine that NYSED ties all teacher scores to the Pearson ELA and math tests. And imagine an evaluation system in which test scores are @ 50% and trump the observation piece. Now let's imagine that this half-assed (4 ass numbers divided by the CCC of 8) sytem goes into effect next school year. Our 2020 cohort (current 7th graders) had a 6% pass rate in math and 10% pass rate in ELA. Now let's imagine that they bomb both tests again, next April. An in this last hypothetical example, lets imagine NYSED set up a VAM formula that resulted in every teacher in our building rated ineffective. Now that happen for two consecutive years. Then what?

  2. They will have to hire a bunch of new teachers. The mission will be accomplished.

  3. I am offended that they are running Student First commercials that make Cuomo look like the hero in the education budget. I blame our elected officials for signing something they did not read carefully abd this Education Committee. Cathy Nolan was incensed when they were planning to close her Alma Mater Grover Cleveland in Queens during the let's close all the large high schools at once fiasco of the Bloomberg administration. Now she is signing on to things that she obviously did not read carefully as from her statements that fateful night. This whole situation reeks of corruption.

  4. The legislators who voted for the budget have priorities other than public education.

  5. Cathy Nolan is such a disappointment and so full of crap! I heard her speak at IS 5on Feb 27th. She spoke so passionately against Cuomos evaluation system and his whole agenda. Then she voted along with him

  6. The sheep will be hoarded to the testing grounds. The people will question what this is about and say Go F- Yourself.

    Are we sheep or people?

  7. When is someone going to make an "Opt Out" T shirt? I mean this will be the hottest item.

  8. anonymous 1:58..I was actually started making one for myself last night!