|Johanna Garcia, parent leader in Upper Manhattan|
Last year, I appeared on a news show with Angelica Infante-Green, then NY Associate Commissioner of the Office of Bilingual Education, now the Deputy Commissioner. Ms. Infante-Green agreed that the state tests provide NO useful diagnostic information for ELLs, and that then-Commissioner John King had asked for a waiver from the US Department of Education so that ELLs would not have to take the state test for two years. The waiver was denied.
Yes, this is the same John King who is now US Secretary of Education. Ms. Infante-Green said the state really believed that ELLs should be excused from taking the test for three years, but they hadn't asked for that as they had thought they couldn't get such a waiver.
Council Member Helen Rosenthal also spoke about the resolution she sponsored that was unanimously approved by the City Council last year, calling for the right of parents to opt their children out of state testing to be included in the DOE Parent Bill of Rights and sent to every NYC public school parent each year.
The selection of Dr. Rosa, an experienced Bronx educator with years as a teacher, a principal and a Superintendent, to replace Merryl (“Push kids into the deep end of the pool”) Tisch would never have happened without the huge opt-out movement in NY over the last two years.
- Pearson, the company known for writing the ridiculous Pineapple passage and many other confusing and badly designed questions, is still writing the exams this year.
- While the exams will be untimed, this may mean your child could be subjected to even more hours of pointless stress.
- · In NYC and many other districts, teachers are pulled out of their classrooms for up to three days to score these exams. The fewer students take the tests, the fewer days they will lose their teachers. Last year, in some Long Island districts, Jeanette Deutermann told me, teachers only were pulled out for scoring for one day instead of three – because so many students had opted out.
- · There is also the critical issue of privacy. Nearly two years after the state law passed requiring the appointment of a chief privacy officer and a Parent Bill of privacy rights to be created with public input, neither of these events has happened – despite the fact that the legal deadline for both was July 2014. And as we recently found out, the State Education Department decided in 2013 to place all the personally identifiable student data it holds, including their test scores, into the State archives potentially forever – a decision which, despite protests, it still has not revoked.
Here are more detailed explanations by testing expert Fred Smith, Jessica McNair of Opt out Central NY, and NYC teacher Katie Lapham about exactly what has and what hasn’t changed ,and why the current testing regime produces unreliable results and is bad for kids.
Let’s keep the opt-out movement going until our kids get the schools they really deserve!
HOW TO OPT OUT OF THE NY STATE TESTS from Shoot4Education on Vimeo.