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New York Opt-Outs: the War Between Teachers and Government

New York Opt-Outs: the War Between Teachers and Government

Reports of record-high opt-outs from New York standardized testing have begun to circulate as the state concludes its first week of testing and both sides of the issue continue to spar.

So far, the numbers of "opt-outs"- or students sitting out of standardized tests—seems to be historically high in New York in the wake of education reform that angered teachers throughout the state.

"United to Counter the Core, which seeks to reduce testing and eliminate the Common Core academic standards, said Wednesday that more than 137,000 children statewide sat out the first day of testing Tuesday in English language arts, counting reports from 46% of about 700 districts," according to The Wall Street Journal.

Though the opt-out movement has gained traction throughout the country, it has gained considerable traction in New York in part to the April 1 budget that made teacher evaluations increasingly dependent on the results of state administered exams.

"New York State United Teachers has long criticized the policy as unfair. The governor has said evaluations must be toughened with objective data," the article said, touching on both sides of the debate.

"Matthew Chingos, research director at the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, said high-opt out numbers could mushroom as parents might start to opt out because they don’t want to look unsupportive of teachers behind the movement. 'When everyone is opting out, it’s weird to opt in,' he said," according to the article.

In some New York classes, entire classrooms have opted-out of exams.

"Emails among New York school data administrators Wednesday included many questions about how to follow state law requiring evaluations to include growth on tests in cases where all of a teacher’s students skipped the exams."

A pro-Common Core group in the state, High Achievement New York, has launched a campaign in an attempt to get parents to re-consider opting their children out.

"The spots started Friday, saying the tests 'serve as a checkup to make sure all our kids are getting the problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed to succeed,'" and that testing takes up only 1% of school time during the year, the article said.

Read the full story here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/16/2015

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