Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Opt-Out Movement Poised To Grow Even Bigger

From Gary Stern and Randi Weiner at LoHud:

More than 3,140 students in the Lower Hudson Valley sat out the recent state math tests, an 84 percent increase over the number who opted out from the ELA tests only four weeks earlier.

Overall, 3.4 percent of local students in grades 3-8 were directed by their parents to skip the math tests, according to a survey of 54 school districts in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties by The Journal News.

"When families saw some kids opting out from the ELA tests, some thought 'Next time around, I'm going to do it,'" said Lisa Davis, executive director of the Westchester Putnam School Boards Association. "Parents talk to other parents about what happens when your kid doesn't take the tests."

Mahopac saw 18.5 percent of eligible students bypass the math tests, the highest percentage in the region. Ten percent or more did not take the tests in Carmel, North Rockland and South Orangetown. Close behind were Nyack, Mount Pleasant, Lakeland and Ossining.

Advocacy groups that are critical of the state's education reforms have been calling on parents for months to not let their children in elementary and middle school take the new Common Core-based state tests. The term "opting out" has entered the lexicon even though the state does not recognize an option to skip the tests. 

New York State Allies for Public Education, a group that urged parents to opt their kids out, found that more than 35,000 students statewide opted out from the ELA tests. Their district-by-district numbers are consistent with Journal News findings for the Lower Hudson Valley.
The group is far from completing its math-test tallies, but has already counted over 29,000 opt outs.

The numbers continue to grow, but the SED continues to make like it's no big deal:

Dennis Tompkins, spokesman for the state Education Department, said the opt-out numbers do not detract from the significance and importance of the tests.

"We had more than a million kids taking the tests, so there's really no impact," he said.

Students who do not take the tests are not sanctioned by the state. But schools that have less than 95 percent participation for three straight years could have to produce an improvement plan for the state.

You bet they're paying close attention at SED and the Regents and they're not so dismissive of the growing numbers within the corridors of bureaucracy.


  1. There is a three year moratorium on sanctions for schools who do not make 95% participation on the tests. And I personally would love to see NYSED try hold back funding on any of the many districts who had large numbers of parents who opted their kids out of tests. Parents would surely not let that happen.

    1. I agree - that kind of move would backfire greatly.