Gina Terbot’s misgivings about state tests started with her daughter’s seventh-grade results.
Her daughter, an honors student, did well on both the state math and English exams that year. But all Terbot got back was a report with one number and no details of where her daughter could improve.
“You have no idea what you got wrong or what you need to fix,” said Terbot, a school board member in Niagara Wheatfield.
Like thousands of parents across New York last year, Terbot decided she had had enough with state tests given to elementary and middle-school children. She and her daughter joined a growing movement of parents and children trying out civil disobedience in the classroom. When it was time to take the eighth-grade tests, she and her daughter decided to refuse the test.
Classrooms here will be at the epicenter of a political storm again Tuesday as the state begins to administer federally required English Language Arts exams to third- through eighth-graders. With many students opting out of the assessments last year and rancor growing over new teacher evaluations pushed through by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, educators and lawmakers are bracing for more test boycotts.
Metzger, the Niagara Wheatfield parent who will have her fifth-grade and eighth-grade children refuse the tests this week, said opting out is the only way some parents feel their voices will be heard.
“For me, personally, I have a big issue with the education reform, and I’ve tried to contact the governor through phone, email, Facebook, and there’s no getting through to him,” Metzger said. “We don’t have a voice. He doesn’t want to hear us. So this is my way of expressing my opinion. I think the system is flawed.”
Governor Cuomo's education reform agenda was very unpopular as measured by the latest polling.
Nonetheless Cuomo shoved it through in the budget and the legislature voted for it with "heavy hearts."
It is quite apparent that our democratically elected officials do not care what their constituents think about the Endless Testing regime, teacher evaluations tied to test scores or any of the other education reforms they're imposing on the state.
Certainly Governor Cuomo doesn't care.
As parent Amy Metzger says in the Buffalo News piece, there's no getting through to the governor - he doesn't care what parents want for their children or their schools.
The truth is, Governor Cuomo only wants to hear from the ever-smaller coterie of sycophants he has around him who tell him he's right about everything and the charter school/education reform donors who pay him millions top push their agenda.
So parents must make Governor Cuomo hear them by opting their children out of the state tests.
That is the only way to be heard.