Monday, March 27, 2017

School Scope: Opt Out of Test Movement is Still Alive Despite Attempts to Kill It

The WAVE -- - Publish date: March 31, 2017

School Scope: Opt Out of Test Movement is Still Alive Despite Attempts to Kill It
By Norm Scott

NYC schools chancellor Carmen Farina hates the opt out movement because it so threatens the education establishment which uses testing as a bludgeon. Even if your child aces tests, our claim has been that the process itself is harmful to overall development of children educationally, emotionally and intellectually. Many top performing nations have de-emphasized testing, especially for children under high school age.

Farina and the testing establishment have threatened schools, teachers and parents with all sorts of punishment and sanctions, many of them untrue. Principals at schools with high opt-out rates last year have been pressured to intimidate parents who even ask questions about opt out.

I know you will be reading this at the end of the week that ELA tests were given statewide, but there will be a math test the first week of May but even if your child took the tests and you are a believer in the value of tests I urge you to read this blog by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters: It's not too late to opt out & more reasons to do so-- including to protect your child's privacy and deny them the data!

A lot of people are not aware that their childlrens’ data is being shared and even sold. “Deny them the data” has become somewhat of a rallying cry.

Consider the points made in the letter to parents below by a parent of three children – and check out the link: Top 10 Reasons to Opt Out -

Dear Parents,

The state tests are coming up. Before your child sits for 6 days worth of standardized state exams please take a few minutes to review the reasons for considering to opt out of these tests.

I am both a parent and an education advocate, and will be opting my two children out of the state exams. Like every parent, I care deeply about my children's education and future. Actually, I care about the quality of every child's education and am concerned about these specific exams undermining public schools' ability to teach to the WHOLE child. The Opt Out movement has proven to be the best way to make systemic changes to public education.

Who else believes children should opt out of the state tests? Leading education experts such as Diane Ravitch, Carol Burris and Leonie Haimson, as well as the parents of 240,000 NYS students who opted out last year. This year, the New York State Teacher's Union (NYSUT) has even taken out billboards to inform parents of their right to opt out of the state tests.

Our children are not standard. They have talents and qualities that these tests will never measure and are not designed to encourage. They measure cramming, access to expensive tutors, and rote learning. None of these qualities are skills that will prepare our children for college and even less so for the real world.

Ultimately, the decision to opt out is yours. But before the kids go to school on Tuesday, take the opportunity to be informed about the movement. Again, please take the time to read through the links below. But just in case you DON'T open the links below, I'll sum it up with this: State exams are driven by politics and corporate greed while your child's learning and potential is a distant priority. A multiple choice test won't teach our kids what it takes to cure cancer or solve world hunger.


Johanna Garcia
Mom to Aries (3rd gr), Alexa (5th gr.) & Hailey (10th gr.)

“Awesome” said Jamaal A. Bowman Founding Principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action MS, who shared his own video on testing and opting out.

Norm never opts out of blogging at


Anonymous said...

My sister works at an elementary school in the Bronx. She said only 11 kids at her school are confirmed to opt out this year. Looks like the opt out movement is still being lead by parents in more affluent communities.

ed notes online said...

You are right but 2 years ago I bet no one opted out in that school. And farina has used threats and intimidation to cut down numbers. And affluent parents are better able to resist as they often have network support. I know how small the band of local opt out organizers we have and the work they do. Slowly making inroads like into Harlem recently