Parents: please send the following comments on the NYSED proposed regs for ESSA by Aug. 17. For more on this issue, see the Class Size Matters/NYSAPE letter we sent to the Commissioner in June. Feel free to edit and add to the message in any way you like. And if you're not convinced, check out the video below from NYC Opt Out.
To the Commissioner:
As you are undoubtedly aware, 20%- 22% of eligible students throughout the state of New York opted out of the 3-8th grade state exams over the previous three years. Only 8% of districts met the 95% testing participation rate in 2017, and while the state has not yet released the opt out figures for last spring, several news accounts reveal that the number will remain high.
And yet these draft ESSA regulations could allow the Commissioner to label any schools with opt out rates over 5% as needing Comprehensive or Targeted Support, require them to use Title I funds to lower these rates, and even close these schools and/or convert them to charter schools.
None of these provisions are required by the ESSA law, none of them would improve the learning conditions for NY state children, and all of them contradict earlier statements from the Board of Regents that schools with high opt out rates would not be punished.
I strongly urge you to delete these provisions from the proposed regulations, and allow parents to opt out of the state exams if they so choose, as ESSA allows.
I also urge you to fundamentally revamp the state exams and the way in which they are scored, as well as the Common Core standards on which they are based, to improve their fairness, reliability, validity, and diagnostic utility, and ensure that they are less onerous and stressful for children.
Not only would this help improve learning conditions throughout the state, but it would be the best way to persuade me and other parents to allow our children to take these exams again.
[name, address and email]
Why does NYSED want to punish schools for Opt Out? from Mr Ed on Vimeo.