On a plane returning Tuesday from Cuba, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked about the opt-out effort and the New York State United Teachers union's suggestion that parents consider refusing the tests.
Whether or not to opt-out of the exams is a parent's choice, he told reporters.
"From a parent's point of view, they have the right," Cuomo said. "What the teachers union advocated -- the legality of that, the funding, that I'll leave to the federal government and the (state Education Department)."
Cuomo is canny enough to know that when you already have 185,000 opt outs counted from 73% of the districts on the ELA exam, with 27% of district still to be counted, and the math exams coming up now with even higher numbers of opt-outs expected, it's not a winning political battle to take on parents.
So he, like some of the editorial boards around the state, like the awful reporting in the NY Times this week, tries to put the blame for the opt-out movement onto the teachers union.
Here's a message to the corporate media, the corporate journalists/public relations specialists, the educrats and the politicians:
Parents did NOT decide to opt their children out of the state tests because Karen Magee of NYSUT threw her support behind the movement after Cuomo's education reform agenda was shoved through in the budget deal.
The opt-out movement has been growing every year and the numbers were going to increase dramatically this year no matter what Karen Magee and NYSUT did or said about the movement.
For that matter, even as Magee and NYSUT have thrown support to opting out, Mulgrew and the UFT have criticized the movement and echoed the same jive warnings we're getting from the educrats, the politicians and the newspaper editorial boards (i.e., the feds will take school money away as a result.)
I don't quite get how the state teachers union, which couldn't manage to get Assembly members to vote the way it wanted to on the budget, somehow convinced 185,000 parents to keep their kids from taking the state tests, especially when the largest local in the state is warning against opting out of the state tests.
The only thing I can think is, the corporate-owned media, the educrats, the politicians, they need scapegoats for this massive grassroots rebellion raging in New York State and, as so often is the case these days, the teachers union provides a convenient target.
But they are fools if they dismiss the significance of the anger parents have over the state's Endless Testing regime and imposed Common Core implementation.
As Loy Goss, co-founder of United To Counter The Core wrote:
As we complete the first round of counts for ELA and move into the first round of counts for math, it is important to remember why parents do this.
Make no mistake, this wave of civil disobedience is not just about Andrew Cuomo and his teacher evaluation plan. Cuomo is the flavor-of-the-month in a long line of ill-prepared, ill-advised education reformers, each worse than the one before. These sometimes well-intentioned reformers have nevertheless damaged an entire generation of America's schoolchildren going all the way back to No Child Left Behind.
Hundreds of thousands of parents are not making political statements, they are looking at crying, defeated children around their kitchen tables and demanding meaningful change. NY parents and teachers want education reform that is educator-driven, that is tested and proven, that addresses the real problems facing our schools and our children, and that is implemented with a modicum of competency.
A reduction of testing or evaluations does not address the underlying issue. NY parents want what parents have wanted since time began - a better education for our children.
Education reformers and their propagandists are so used to winning the education reform battles with their reflexive teachers union- and teacher-bashing that they're missing the very real anger many parents around the state have toward the state's education reform policies.