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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Historic opt out levels, media today & join us Sunday to give a report card to the Mayor!


Today (Thursday, April 16, 2015) I'll be on the national public radio show, To The Point at 2PM EST & Inside City Hall on NY1 at 7 & 10 PM EST talking about testing and opting out. Please listen and watch!
This week, the opt-out movement reached historic levels across the state. The unofficial count shows more than 150,000 kids have opted out of the NY state Common Core ELA exam with only 53% of districts reporting, according to a spreadsheet posted by United to Counter the Core. The best reporting on this has been done by Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News,  who writes, " The entire structure of high-stakes testing in New York crumbled Tuesday, as tens of thousands of fed-up public school parents rebelled against Albany's fixation with standardized tests..."
Many teachers, students and parents have also told us that the ELA exams this week are too long, full of outmoded vocabulary and ambiguous questions, with convoluted reading passages at a difficulty level many grades higher than the students being tested. You can read their comments or post yours on the blog here.
The state math exam happens next week; we encourage even more parents to opt out. Sample opt out letters are on the NYSAPE website. Despite wild speculation, there is no legal basis in either federal or state law for schools or districts to be punished with budget cuts if large numbers of students refuse the test. The best discussion of this is by the NYS Superintendents. In the US Senate, an amendment just passed unanimously in committee, barring the feds from penalizing any state or district for allowing parents to opt out.
On Sunday at noon, in front of Tweed, 52 Chambers St., parent leaders, NYC Kids PAC and Class Size Matters will be releasing a report card to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, grading him on whether he has fulfilled his campaign promises on education after more than a year in office. Please join us and bring your kids! You can respond to this message or email info@nyckidspac.org for more information.

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