Thursday 8 December 2022
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Thousands of Students to Opt-Out of State Tests

By Staff


Students-in-classroom- newIn response to a state mandate for students to meet English Language Arts (ELA) and math requirements in schools, both teacher’s unions and parent-led groups have said thousands of students across the state will opt out of the exams April 14, due to the fact that they are not beneficial to students, and are unfairly tied to teacher evaluations, reports said.

The exams are scheduled to begin Tuesday, and the groups have predicted about a quarter of a million students, statewide, will decline to take the tests.

Reportedly, teachers unions, parents and educators have begun the opt-out movement in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent budget proposal to base 50 percent of teacher evaluations on student test results.

As a result, North Syracuse, Onondaga Central, Liverpool, Oswego City and Phoenix school districts have all reported increases in the number of students who may refuse to take the test this year, district officials stated.

Reportedly, in the Liverpool Central School District, nearly twice as many students have said they will not take the tests, and, in the Onondaga Central School District, 27 percent of third graders said they will not take the tests. In addition, 31 percent of eighth graders in Onondaga Central have said they will boycott the ELA test, according to reports.

Meanwhile, teachers unions across the state, including New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), have spoken out in support of the opt-out movement.

NYSUT has given the following reason for supporting students who decided to opt out of the tests:

“NYSUT has tried for years to work with Gov. Cuomo to develop evaluations that do not place an overreliance on commercially developed standardized tests. He has refused and instead has insisted, contrary to all advice and evidence to the contrary, on making “test and punish” the centerpiece of his education policy.”

Conversely,  proponents of the tests have said parents should allow their students to participate in the exams, in order to avoid state sanctions, including the withholding of funds, from the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

According to NYSED, 95 percent of students need to take the tests in order for districts to accurately calculate the results.