Monday, March 2, 2015

Two MORE's plus Carol Burris - and others on Panel as Brooklyn Parents and Teachers Lead Opt Out, Weds at PS 261K

What can teachers do in their schools to starve the testing beast that gives the Cuomo- deform crowd their ammo? The UFT won't do it because they are in favor of PARCC and testing even if it ends up screwing the members, so it is up to the rank and file to infiltrate info into their schools and into the hands of parents (but always be cautious.)

This is a big week for pushing the opt-out movement. Michael Elliot released a video (The Other PARCC - Parents Advocating Refusal on High-Stakes Testing) on refusing the PARCC yesterday in New Jersey, where the tests were to begin today but may have been delayed by the snow.

MORE's partner in many endeavors, Change the Stakes, created NYC-specific refusal letters this year. Attached are Word versions in English and Spanish. Here are the links:

And on Weds there is a forum at PS 261K where MORE's Marissa Torres is chapter leader and MORE's Sam Coleman and Brian Jones are on the panel. (I can't resist - where are the other so-called UFT caucuses in terms of organizing, agitating, etc other than being key-board warriors? - By the way -- 45 teachers and parents showed up to the MORE meeting on Saturday.)

Janine Sopp posted this link: NYS Testing info presentation 2_3_2015.pdf (This power point presentation is worth viewing and sharing. It helps explain the flawed and invalid nature of high stakes testing. Please share with you community and arm yourself with the answers to those who believe these tests do something worth the time, energy, chaos and money we are forces to endure.)
 Next time your UFT rep or Mulgrew comes around telling you how important testing is, refer to this.

And finally  - for now -- NYSAPE's versions of above for the state.

Hi All,
Attached is NYSAPE’s factsheet and sample refusal letter.  We are also finishing up a Fact vs. Myth document (longer than the factsheet) that I will share soon.  Below is information on Assemblyman James Tedisco’s bill on requiring schools to inform parents their right to refuse the 3-8 CC tests.

Tedisco: New “Common Core Parental Refusal Act” to Inform Parents of Their Rights

Assemblyman introduces legislation to ensure schools notify parents they can refuse to have their children in grades 3-8 participate in controversial Common Core state standardized tests

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville), who was the top vote getter in the Assembly on the Stop Common Core ballot line in 2014, today announced new legislation he is introducing, the “Common Core Parental Refusal Act” to require that school districts notify parents of their rights to refuse to have their children in grades 3-8 participate in the Common Core standardized tests.

Both parents and teachers have expressed concern over the over-testing of children in New York in regards to how the new Common Core standards are being applied along with the high stakes associated with the results of such tests. Chief among those complaints is that teachers are being forced to spend an inordinate amount of class time “teaching to the test” instead of engaging students in true learning.

In 2014 alone, parents of 60,000 students refused New York State Common Core tests.
Tedisco’s bill provides a notification for schools to send to parents informing them of their right to refuse to have their children take the Common Core tests along with a response form that parents can complete and return to the schools.  These notices can be sent via email, letter or home with children in their school bags.

The legislation protects school districts and individual schools from having state aid withheld or any other punitive measures by the state.  The bill protects teachers from being penalized due to a lack of student participation or performance on the exams.  It also ensures that students are not punished or rewarded for their participation or lack thereof in the exams and would set-aside alternate study activities for those who refuse the tests so they are not forced to “sit and stare” in the same room as their peers who are taking the tests.

            “We need to bring common sense to Common Core because New York is wasting a lot of time and money counting things that don’t count. Too much time and effort is being spent needlessly stressing children out to prepare for these Common Core standardized tests which are of questionable value instead of focusing on supporting teachers so they can do their job and teach children the truly important essentials. ” said Tedisco, a former public school special education teacher and guidance counselor.

            “Perhaps the best kept secret in state government is that parents have a right to refuse to have their children take the Common Core standardized tests if they desire without fear of reprisal against their kids, teachers or schools.  It’s long past time, that those who should have had a say in the implementation of Common Core at the onset in this representative democracy have their say now in defense of their parental rights as it relates to their children’s educational best interests,” said Tedisco.

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