Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Opt Out Movement Grows In NY State

No wonder education reformers like Merryl Tisch and StudentsFirstNY were so shrill in their criticism of Westchester County Executive/GOP gubernatorial's announcement that he and his wife were opting their children out of the state's Common Core ELA and math tests that begin today.

Astorino and his wife are just two out of thousands of parents across New York who are opting their children out of the state tests this.

Here is how Carol Burris described the burgeoning opt-out movement in today's Washington Post:

Even before the tests begin, “Opt Out” is catching fire across the state. Stacey Sturdy has been lobbying her legislators to change the course of testing and reform. She created a grassroots group in her small district of Worchester in rural Otsego County. On the Sunday prior to testing, 25 percent of 3-8 students’ parents had decided to opt out in her district. Stacey said, “My husband and I decided early on that our children would be refusing the test, as a last ditch effort to show our governor and Commissioner King that parents are the ultimate voice for public education. We will not stand by and watch our beautiful rural school be corrupted by indoctrinating, age-inappropriate curriculum; then set up for failure just so a charter school can take its place.” Stacey has also decided to run for the school board to continue to make a difference.

On suburban Long Island, the home of the 16,000-member group known as Long Island Opt Out, founder Jeanette Deutermann struggled the day before the testing began to keep up with the reported numbers of students opting out. Some districts were reporting numbers well in excess of one-third of all potential test takers, with more letters continuing to arrive in school offices. By the end of Monday, with 65 of the 122 Long Island districts reporting through volunteers, Jeanette was aware of more than 8,850 opt-out requests in those 65 districts. More requests are expected to arrive on Tuesday and it is likely that this year, as last year, test takers will also pull out of tests once they begin.

The NY State legislature did little to address parent concerns in the budget agreement that was passed last night and will be signed by Governor Cuomo today.

And so, as one parent puts it in the Burris piece, opponents of the state education reform agenda are doing what they can do to fight back:

 It has become clear that in New York state, the “canary in the coal mine” of the Common Core reforms, parents are sending a clear message by opting out. In the words of Seaford, N.Y parent, Heather Umhafer: “This is a democracy. However the democratic process was left out when it came to the Common Core. We are fighting back. It’s the only way and we do it by ‘choosing to refuse’ and ‘remember in November.’”

We're seeing straw man attacks against Astorino for opting his kids out of the tests, with Regents Chancellor Tisch claiming Astorino is against all education standards.

Those straw man attacks aren't just aimed at him, of course - they're aimed at all parents who dare to stand up for local control of education, for a parent's right to have a say in what goes on in their taxpayer-funded schools.

The shriller the attacks against parents who opt their children out of the state tests or criticize the Common Core agenda are, the more you know the opposition to the NYSED/Regents/Cuomo reform agenda is scaring the education reform establishment.

This opt-out movement positively terrifies them.

They know as soon as other parents see that there is nothing the state can do to parents and children who opt out of the state tests, the opt-out movement will spread like wildfire.

Eac year over the past few years, the movement has grown.

This year looks to be the biggest year yet.

And with Cuomo and the state legislature doubling down on CCSS reform in the budget, the movement against Endless Testing is going to grow and grow.

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