Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

NY Times: Opt Out Becomes An Anti-Testing Rallying Cry In New York

The NY Times has a piece out with the theme "The Opt Out Movement Comes Of Age":

In 440 of the state’s 721 districts, The Times found that at least 165,000 students opted out of at least one test, based on information from districts and local news reports. That figure is four times the number of pupils who had refused the tests in those districts last year. In at least 60 districts, refusers outnumbered the test takers.

In the other 250-plus districts, including New York City’s, by far the state’s largest, data was either unavailable or officials did not respond.

Just two years ago, 95 percent student participation in tests, the minimum standard called for by federal requirements, was nearly universal; this year, among districts with available information, only a few reported meeting that standard. In Fairport, near Rochester, for example, participation dropped from 96 percent to 33 percent in a single year.

Read the rest of the piece - it certainly is favorable coverage:

As the vanguard of an anti-testing fervor that has spread across the country, New York’s opt-out movement already has become a political force. Just two months ago, lawmakers from both parties, at the behest of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, increased the role of test scores in teacher evaluations and tenure decisions. 
Those same legislators are now tripping over one another to introduce bills that guarantee the right to refuse to take tests. The high numbers will also push state and federal officials to make an uncomfortable decision: whether to use their power to financially punish districts with low participation rates. 
“We’ve written letters to legislators for years, until we were blue in the face, and they didn’t listen,” said Eric Mihelbergel, a founding member of New York State Allies for Public Education, a test-refusal group. “But they’re listening now, now that we’re opting our kids out.”

Indeed they are listening.

I'm not yet convinced we're getting any real change from policymakers and lawmakers, but the sheer number of opt outs this year got their attention and if real change to the Endless Testing regime doesn't come soon, then political prices must be paid by the politicians who continue to support it.


  1. The opt out numbers will play an important role when the new APPR eventually gets challenged in court, Its not just the missing scores but the psychological impact on students taking the tests which corrupts the scores they will still use to rate teachers.

  2. The "No harm, no foul" defense the state used when they were sued by the teacher from Long Island will no longer hold up either. They knew using their testing data would have been a complete loss, now no harm, no foul will be out, made even worse by the opt-out movement.

    1. Under Cuomo Core, test-and-fire, there will be plenty of "harm" to litigate. His agenda stands NO chance in front of an impartial judge or jury.