Cuomo gave us his best shot and we're still standing. Next week, the Test Resistance begins. Looking for biggest Opt Out mov't in US history
— Mark Naison (@McFiredogg) April 11, 2015
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.