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Early Information Indicates Thousands of New York Students Are Opting-Out

Early Information Indicates Thousands of New York Students Are Opting-Out

Despite recent efforts from New York education officials to prevent student opt-outs from state exams, the latest data shows that the efforts were not enough to convince the parents of thousands of students to take the tests.

According to a survey from Newsday, 49.7 percent of all Long Island students sat the exams out this week; Long Island is being called the epicenter of the state's opt-out movement due to the overwhelmingly higher opt-out numbers compared to other areas in the state.

"Long Island continues to be the hotbed of testing resistance. Newsdayreported that 49.7 percent of all Long Island students refused the test Tuesday even though the Newsday editorial board has repeatedly urged parents to have their children take it,” said education advocate Carol Burris in an article for The Washington Post.

And according to Burris, new information also indicates that minority students are opting-out at higher rates this year, as well.

"Jamaal Bowman is the principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, a highly regarded middle school in the Bronx. Ninety nine percent of his students are black or Latino and 84 percent are economically disadvantaged. Last year, only 5 of his students refused the test. On Tuesday, 25 percent opted out,” Burris said.

While data from last year’s opt-out movement indicated that mostly suburban, white parents were opting their children out, Burris says there is evidence that "the Opt Out movement is gaining ground with parents of color, with many no longer willing to buy the spin that taking Common Core tests will improve their children’s life chances.”

Burris is in staunch opposition to the Common Core and any test that is aligned to the standards.

Steve Sigmund, executive director of High Achievement New York, e-mailed Education World to argue that the number of students opting out is not alarming or a reason for concern.

"The early evidence points to flat opt out numbers across the state, some areas have fewer opt outs (around Albany, Rochester suburbs), some are a little higher (like a mix in Westchester, some up, some down) and some are flat (Long Island, Dutchess)," Sigmund said in the e-mail.

Moreover, there is zero evidence of widespread opt outs in the major cities. The NY Post reported this morning of 'more than 400,000' students taking the test in NYC, Yonkers shows only a 6% opt out rate for ELA, and Buffalo has already said its opt outs will once again be very low."

"The bottom line is the vast majority of New York State students in 3-8 grade will once again take the assessments," he said.

Read the full post.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/6/2016

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