Cuomo says he doesn't believe school districts with high opt out rates should face sanctions.— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) August 20, 2015
Schools with high rates of students opting out of standardized tests shouldn’t be penalized through a withholding of federal funds, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo, speaking in Utica with reporters on Thursday, wouldn’t criticize parents for choosing to have their children not take the tests.
“I don’t believe there are sanctions for opt outs,” Cuomo said. “At the end of the day, parents are in charge and parents make the decisions.”
That's the public statement, of course - you can bet Cuomo doesn't have either the political courage or the political backing to take on the parents who opted their children out of the state's Endless Testing regime directly.
But make no mistake, behind the scenes he and his minions are trying to figure out ways to get those opt out numbers down next year.
You see, he's put a lot of political capital into his vaunted APPR teacher evaluation system, but if 20% of eligible students opt out of the tests the system is based upon, well, that does put in a crimp in things.
If the trend for opt out continues to grow - opt outs went from 5% in 2014 to 20% in 2015 - Cuomo's vaunted APPR is DOA.
So I don't make too much of this statement by Cuomo.
This is the sort of thing he has to say in front of the cameras, but behind the scenes it's a different story.
The Opt Out movement hurts his teacher evaluation system and you can bet Cuomo doesn't like that at all.