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The numbers are in. Thousands of parents – a third or more of them in some districts – are opting their children out of state tests next week.

The Buffalo News and Democrat and Chronicle editorial boards would like you to believe these parents were manipulated by unions and a fear little Johnny will get stressed out.

The Buffalo News writes:

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Improvement means change and New York State United Teachers are not much into that.

The Democrat and Chronicle writes:

The only child-centric argument most opt-out supporters have is, “Tests stress kids out.”

(snip)

Teachers have been whipped into a frenzy by union leaders who have lost their decades-long chokehold on state government, its citizens and the educational system.

These editorials completely missed the point of the opt-out movement and showed tremendous disrespect for the intelligence of their readers.

There are many reasons besides unions and children’s stress levels that people are opting out of the tests.

First, these tests will be used to measure teacher performance. There’s zero evidence supporting the use of test scores to measure teacher effectiveness. There’s quite a bit of evidence showing this evaluation method is deeply flawed.

Lleyn_sheepThe tests are also problematic in measuring student performance. State test data would have you believe only a third of students are proficient in math and English. The success of our suburban high schools, which make up the majority of student population, show differently. The state also sets the passing rate by deciding what score is needed to be deemed proficient – after the tests are taken. Not to mention, critics say these tests are not developmentally appropriate and poorly written.

There is also great concern about how the tests will be used to measure entire school buildings, which could face closure. The state is pushing state takeovers of schools deemed failing. The state is also pushing more charter schools. Many test critics have a problem with lucrative contracts for testing firms and the use of student data to help these firms profit.

Furthermore, these editorials miss a giant fact: Unions didn’t start the opt-out movement. Parents did. This is a grassroots movement. Unions didn’t get on board until this year. When they did so, editorial boards got tunnel vision and failed to see the big picture of this movement.

Now, there’s a movement to opt out of the Democrat and Chronicle. It’s okay to have unpopular editorials. Reasonable people can debate the merits of this movement. But at least make sure editorials are based in fact and well-reasoned. These editorials failed on both counts.

 

Links of the Day:

 

– Does standardized testing look out for kids’ civil rights?

A state lawmaker wants to force schools to close on Election Day. bWhy? SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN. But nothing’s ever happened to a child during voting at a school. Bad things could happen anywhere (and 99.99999 percent of the time, don’t).

– This school’s dress code, fun as it is, has done nothing to get kids to pass Regents. The school is yet another failed experiment, per state test data.

– The Rochester teacher who brought a gun to the Statue of Liberty on a school field trip is back in a classroom.

– You know what will create jobs in Rochester? Innovation! The people who invent things and come up with new ways to do things will create the next Kodak. Carlson Cowork in Rochester is the type of hub that could lead to big things. Meanwhile, the state is throwing money at Start-Up New York, with few results.

– Senator Churck Schumer is squeezed on the Iran deal.

– The downtown Rochester Red Shirt program is in jeopardy.

– Some Upstate cities are marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s funeral train passage. Is Rochester doing anything?

48 Responses to Not Sheep

  1. Rachel, your background includes insight into the educational system so I would like your feedback here.

    Given that there are good and poor performers in every profession and we don’t want poor teachers teaching our children, what would you put in place to identify which teachers are better than others and which should be replaced for the good of the students?

    As a follow up question, how difficult should it be to replace a poor teacher and what steps should be used?

    • April 11, 2015 at 9:46 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      Maybe asking the wrong question.

      Are bad teachers what’s wrong with urban education? (Because that’s what we’re really taking about.)

    • Here is what I think….. A good teacher will differentiate material to meet all of the student needs. A good teacher will not discriminate between those who have needs in a classroom and those who understand each lesson as they are taught. A good teacher will praise any growth a student has. A good teacher will not care about the NYS test score because a good teacher knows the growth the students are showing whether they reach mastery level or not. A good teacher knows that the world needs diverse learners in order to occupy the diverse working community…..a good teacher knows that they are not failing their students but what happens beyond their control is. A good teacher goes home at night worrying about their students. A good teacher will find ways for struggling learners to show their knowledge and talents. A good teacher will help students find their path in education. A good teacher gets to know each student and treat them as individuals not test scores.

  2. April 11, 2015 at 9:29 am rochester_veteran responds:

    I love this grass roots rebellion against Common Core! Liberals, moderates, conservatives, libertarians and even the non-political, joining together in rejecting the top-down dictates of big government and corporations of this disaster of a curriculum! The decisions on school curricula should be made at the local and state levels, in that order.

  3. April 11, 2015 at 9:53 am theodore kumlander responds:

    Is this a Rebellion against standardized testing and common core? It should be. This has all been pushed by private testing companies. Which by the way why do we need private testing companies in the first place? , and Charter school companies trying to get their paws on some of that government money. It is all a hustle and I ma glad to see people are Opting Out.

    The D&C has had a Pathological hatred for Unions especially the RTA for decades. The RTA of course as being used as a straw man. The Public attention is focused on the Union while the real scam goes on behind the scenes.

  4. April 11, 2015 at 10:05 am Mark Powers responds:

    Your insight into this is correct. The Editorial Board at the Demagogue and Comical has it in for unions and specifically teachers’ unions. They are shills for corporatism. James Lawrence, a retired editor at the D&C whose ghost haunts the Board, has always believed THE problem in urban education is disinterested white teachers.

  5. April 11, 2015 at 10:22 am JustTheFacts responds:

    The local “opt out” movement jumped the shark when parents in the Fairport Central School district were on the receiving end of an email blast promoting the opt-out movement which crossed the line. You have to wonder how much pressure there is inside of the school district to abide by the wishes of William Cala and what kind of an impact this overt politicking is having on the school system itself. This is a district that never provided taxpayers with an explanation as to why the high school principal essentially walked off the job earlier this school year. It’s also a district where the head of the Board of Education is actually employed by William Cala’s 501c3 charity – an unusual conflict of interest.

  6. April 11, 2015 at 10:27 am Edward responds:

    Truly curious – you mention that there is “no evidence” supporting test scores as reliable measures of teacher performance and “quite a bit of evidence” showing that it’s deeply flawed. I’m not nearly as adept in this debate as I’d like to be and I’m curious what this evidence is – how it was performed/measured/determined.

      • You could read a Washington post article based on a stastistical study (Which is not the same as a scientific paper) or you could read a scientific paper:
        http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/va_exec_summ.pdf

        “Teachers’ impacts on students are substantial in monetary terms. Replacing a teacher whose true VA is in the bottom 5% with one of average quality would generate cumulative earnings gains of $50,000 per student or more than $1.4 million for the average classroom; discounting at a 5% interest rate to age 12 yields a present value gain of more than $250,000 per classroom”

        • Here is a complete look at the study with charts, graphs etc. They did a follow up paper on the long term effects. Look at the HUGE difference in outcomes from when a Low VA teacher (based on test scores) is replaced with a high VA teacher in EXACTLY THE SAME SCHOOL:

          http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/value_added.html

          Furthermore the study finds that no matter what you do – low VA teachers will almost never be “turned around” and become high VA teachers.

          • “students assigned to such high value-added teachers are more likely to go to college, earn higher incomes, and less likely to be teenage mothers. On average, having such a teacher for one year raises a child’s cumulative lifetime income by $80,000 (equivalent to $14,500 in present value at age 12 with a 5% interest rate). “

          • April 19, 2015 at 11:16 am summer responds:

            Ny state is already one of the hardest teacher cert states in the country. Cuomo would like everyone to think our teachers are the worst in the country. That’s not true. High stake testing in not the answer. It’s the equivalent to giving me a assessment test and using those results to see if I’m happy in my marriage.

            Here in NY we have a city school problem! Notice none of the studies are done on the outer schools, that’s because they perform well above proficient. And we have a city school problem , not from teachers but from corrupt city school board and we’ll below avg. Funding. A drinking tax base, if any and poverty. None of that is talked about. A standardize test won’t fix these issues.

  7. April 11, 2015 at 10:28 am Edward responds:

    Also – re: Start-UP NY, Cuomo is starting the linkage of SUNY funding to Start-Up NY “attractiveness” (http://thelamron.com/2015/04/03/governor-cuomo-links-suny-funding-with-start-up-ny-performance/)

  8. April 11, 2015 at 11:55 am Sandy Mayer responds:

    Are the opt out parents worried about the stress of the exams or that they might show that the system has “dumbed down” our kids? Would they see a doctor who didn’t have standardized testing to get their license to practice medicine or a lawyer who didn’t have to take a bar exam? Time for their coddled kids to take ownership of their education and perhaps face some disappointment. Achievement shouldn’t be a walk in the park. How else will we find where the system fails our children.

    • I’m not sure why you would assume every parent that’s opting out has coddled children that can’t handle the tests. I cannot speak for other people’s choices, but my children scored at the top of the top scores each time they’ve taken the state tests. Boycotting is not necessarily the easy way out – especially for rule following high achievers. My family hopes that opting out sends a message that the system in place for showing growth is flawed. It has given us, in our home, an opportunity to discuss peaceful resistance and standing up for others. It was not a decision we took lightly and it was definitely not a cop out.

    • April 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm summer responds:

      How about the parents who opted their children out are the working tax payers of our state! We will not be silent any longer. We are the lawyers,doctors,teachers,admins,blue collar, cooks,drivers etc who run this state. This is a local and public issue, not to be changed behind closed doors by people with no stake other then to make millions of dollars.
      State test are gross. They lack creative thinking. They lack an understanding of prior teachings (b4 common core) you know those early yrs when kids learn the most.
      My main concern is the data. The data is not safe, it’s up for sale. Pearson, survey monkey and PARCC are buying our kids data and using it to set future goals for our kids. Should the parents and children be doing that?

  9. April 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm Alice Abrams responds:

    Thank you! In fact I canceled my subscription with the D&C yesterday for their irresponsible, insulting, and downright ignorant editorial! And wrote to the editor telling him/her that. I am encouraged by your intelligent and compassionate response.
    Alice Abrams
    Teacher at World of Inquiry K-12 RCSD. Where the test refusal rate is now over 70%

  10. April 11, 2015 at 5:29 pm Opting in responds:

    Opt out students should be segregated to teachers with the lowest scores. Since there is no evidence that tests reflect quality educators, the opt out parents won’t mind.

  11. We should all know by now that the D&C is an irrelevant fish wrap that has ceased to be relevant or contain anything resembling “journalism” for some time now.

    It does seem that the point of these tests is union busting and as someone pointed out, in urban districts blaming white teachers for not caring enough. Right now everything in the NYS education reform is based on blaming teachers. It neglects the true problems because most people don’t want to accept them or it doesn’t serve the union busting and poor race relation theme.

    The Atlantic just ran a great article on Louville and Jefferson county who run a county wide school system to break up the economic segregation seen in most metropolitan areas when it comes to education. I’m very surprised you or someone else didn’t pick it up given the recent fight over Urban-Suburban and teacher performance.

  12. Just have them take the test. It won’t do any harm. I had to take tests every year. So did all of my friends and everyone else in my school. If these are the right tests, they won’t be taking the scores from them anyway. The current system is not sustainable. Three years and automatic life tenure is not an inducement to good teaching. The union bosses like Urbanski have far too much control. When was he last in a classroom as a teacher? 20 years? 30? Has he even set foot in a classroom in 10 years or is he too busy swilling champagne and eating lobster on his members’ dime?
    In life, people have to do things that are unpleasant. In life, people have to do things that are illogical. There’s more unpleasant, illogical things going on where I am employed than a sane person would believe, but there is. I have no choice to “opt out.” I have to do it and more to get a smaller paycheck every two weeks. Taking an idiotic test isn’t going to do irreparable emotional or physical harm to anyone. Anyone who thinks that must be living in an eggshell of a world. When their eggshell finally gets cracked open, oh boy will they be in for a world of hurt. So have the kids relax, do their best on the exam and not worry about it. If they need therapy after they take the test, have them go get it. I have little sympathy for them. I have less sympathy for Cuomo.

    • April 13, 2015 at 7:22 pm summer responds:

      You don’t have kids? When there’s only 181 teaching days in a year why would I want my children losing a total of 12 on pointless harmful testing? That’s not counting the prep days. My kids go to a top school and we still have 3 units to go through in math and it’s mid April! My child’s info will not be bought and sold like ours this through things like facebook, amazon etc.. our government is holding badly needed funds that are the tax payers! He’s the ones playing games, not parents. Be mad at him. More then half the state can’t be wrong. I do agree on the state of the teachers union. I say 10 years in offer tenure. Based on overall grades,grad rates and out reach. Do you really think a college prep organization ran by Jeb bush is a good tool for measuring our children education? PARCC.

  13. WOW….what a hot topic. As an outsider looking in ( my kids are long graduated, but I do have young grandchildren ) I can’t determine what the REAL issue is. Is it the stress of taking a test? ( TAKE the test, it builds character and prepares you for the real world of accountability.). Is it loss of teaching time? ( YES it is. A test is OK, but 6 DAYS? Be reasonable…..one test for 1 hour every quarter should suffice ). Is it teacher effectiveness and performance rated by your students test results? ( this is as idiotic an idea as I have ever heard. It makes absolutely no sense. The real question is why and how did it ever come to this. Why would Cuomo and politicians suggest this? The answer to this is the CONTINUOUS cry from the Teachers Unions for more funding while at the same time there is a low graduation rate. Let me put it out there….Unions are all about MONEY for themselves. I believe most teachers are effective, hardworking, and caring. What needs to be done is for teacher salaries to be reduced by a minimum of 20 % and additional teachers hired to reduce class sizes and improve teacher effectiveness. Of course, Unions will fight this to the death.) so, what is it? As the comments indicate, everyone has a different issue. What we need is for education to return to the local level. We all elect our local Board of Education. Every district needs to decide for themselves how to teach. For parents that have a different outlook, there are options. Charter schools and catholic schools are out there. As for this opt out protest…..I think it shows that people are fed up. To me, it looks like a power struggle between the governor and the union. I personally have no love for either.

  14. No Summer I don’t have kids but I spent sixteen years from pre school through twelfth grade in classrooms, then an additional seven years at the undergraduate and graduate level. I also pay more and more taxes for less services. Like I wrote above, I have to do more and more at my work in the real world, to earn less, as taxes, employer withholding and bills take, take, take. Kids spend barely 180 days in school. They have the entire months of July and August off. Do you know how much time I have off in July and August? Weekends. Have the students take the tests. China and India aren’t going away. Despite having access to technology and information that astounds even their parents, our kids know less and less as the years go by. They get challenged on what they know less and less as well. Heaven forbid there ever be “pressure” on the poor little dears. See? It’s the egg shell thing again. I am no more angry at the governor than I am at a dining room table. There is no point in it. He is the governor, he wants accountability. Maybe this will work. Maybe it won’t. I know what we’re doing now isn’t working in the poorer districts. Let’s try this for a year or two. Tell the kids to do the best they can. If they don’t do well, it’s one test. It isn’t handing in a 25-page productive activity report every week explaining how they made their boss more money while they earn less (I have to do that btw). Real world again. Maybe I’m a bit jaded but I’m dealing with real life every day, not play time at elementary school. Coddling people won’t help them when they graduate from high school. Are their parents going to complain to their bosses that their child “doesn’t do” written reports? Do you all get it yet?

    • April 13, 2015 at 9:46 pm summer responds:

      Omg you sound like a 12 year old. You are complaining that you have to work harder then school children! Unreal. “I don’t get July and August off…” wow is right sir, you have no business here speaking about these issues. Also I’m glad you went to college for 7 years just to be miserable. Congrats. This is what WE as parents are trying to avoid. Zombies in the ever turning wheel of piss ed off workers that common core, high stakes testing and PARCC will produce.

      • First of all it’s “Oh my God.” When someone uses an acronyms rather than spell out what they say, it is usually because they are used to texting their friends, like 12-year-olds. Second of all, my point is that I have little sympathy for them or Cuomo. I don’t get summers off “Summer,” nor do I get paid $170,000 like our Governor. A small fraction of that. I did not go to college for seven years to be miserable, nor am I. I simply work very, very hard for less money, as many, many people do. I pay higher and higher taxes despite a supposed “cap” that was really a flim flam, so other people’s children can go to school. They need to learn how life is. Shielding them from it is only going to cause them more trouble down the road. I am hard. That is because life is hard. If you aren’t, it’ll chew and spit you out. I do work much harder than school children, judging from the P.C. drivel they seem to learn nowadays. I don’t need to explain myself to you. My boss already holds me to that. It is life. They’ve got to learn some time. High school is the time to start learning how the real world works. I feel sorry for your children if you choose to shelter them from bad things. They will be traumatized when they find out how life actually works. Then I’ll have to pay for their insurance co-pays. Thanks!

        • April 14, 2015 at 7:38 am Summer responds:

          Too bad these test are NOT for highschool students. grades 3-8. Good luck with that rough tough working man deal with a 3rd grader!

          • They might as well get used to it. Life is hard. Better to let them understand that when they’re young than give them the delusion that they’re perfect and can do no wrong to be disappointed later.

          • April 14, 2015 at 9:56 am Summer responds:

            ok, thanks for the advise, non-parent. Also there’s one huge difference YOU GET PAID TO WORK! If testing companies like PARSONS want to get money from NY for testing and using my child as a data gold mining trip, they better pay up! Everyone is making money off our children while you want us to just sit back and tell the kids to suck it up? It’s wrong. and thats the whole point behind opting out! We are opting out of the State and big corp making millions off our children!

          • Turn off Fox News and deal with the real world. Coddling children only leads to problems later on. The Baby Boomers are the perfect example of that. And it’s “advice”, not “advise”. I give you advice. I advise you. The former is passive voice, the other active. Of course I didn’t learn that by being tested on it; perish the thought!

          • April 14, 2015 at 11:42 am Summer responds:

            Thank you for being that one true good person left in the world to catch my wrong doing! You need a hug. I do not watch TV, and my children are not coddle. AGAIN- YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN TO EVEN TEST ALL YOUR AWESOME PARENTING ADVICE ON! STOP TROLLING.

  15. I’m sorry. I am not a troll. I simply think that kids need to be assessed on what they know. Taking a bubble test isn’t that big a deal; it determines nothing but determines much. SAT scores help determine college admissions. LSAT, MSAT and GRE scores determine whether someone gets admitted to graduate or professional school. The Civil Service system runs by standardized tests because it is an objective method of awarding jobs and promotions. State law also mandates that students take the standardized tests as well. One thing students should learn is obedience to the law, whether they agree with it or not. Most parents are not well-educated and very few have formal credentials in education. The educators who know best say “take the test.” Nancy Zimpher, the chancellor of the state university system, encourages students to take the test. She has 30 years of experience in education. Who knows best? A plumber or an education professional? That’s all. I won’t waste my energy on you anymore. If you are disingenuously or criminally stable, that is not my fault. Best regards.

    • April 15, 2015 at 8:09 am rochester_veteran responds:

      One thing students should learn is obedience to the law, whether they agree with it or not. Most parents are not well-educated and very few have formal credentials in education.

      Kids need to become critical thinkers and not be sheeple, at least that’s the way my wife and I raised our children, to question authority! Parents are rebelling against a top down, inherently flawed educational curriculum that is Common Core! Parents are the ultimate authority in this matter and pay the school taxes, so they have a huge say in this matter. I question both the competence and ideology of the so-called experts that are Common Core advocates!

      • Also parents are not the ultimate authority, the state Department of Education and the Board of Regents are. Nowadays, boards of education spend most of their time implementing mandatory regulations passed down from the Board of Regents, who represent the people through appointments by the elected chief magistrate of this state. The Commissioner as the professional Chief Executive of the educational system in the state, is relied on by the Regents for guidance in setting and interpreting educational policy as passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor, both groups elected and accountable to the people. What the Board of Regents and state Education commissioners do, is determined by state law passed by the people’s elected representatives.
        Another concern should be that widespread polls show that most Americans are wholly ignorant of the most basic facts of history and law. Bizarrely, many are proud of this ignorance for reasons beyond imagination. They should be ashamed. You can’t get a civil service job without taking a rigorous exam. You can’t become a doctor without passing boards, or a lawyer without passing the bar. More colleges require comprehensive exams to graduate. Students should get used to taking tests. If they ‘opt out’ and their parents ‘opt out’, they have no one but themselves to blame for their woeful ignorance and lack of marketable job skills in the future. If the system is flawed, reform it. Until then, there is an obligation to follow the law and take the exams. The widespread “opting out” as it were, will skew the results in an unfavorable direction.

        • April 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm rochester_veteran responds:

          Also parents are not the ultimate authority, the state Department of Education and the Board of Regents are.

          Perhaps to you, Sean, but not to me, but then again, I’m not a statist and resist statist authority at any opportunity.

          • Oh God, here we go. It is a practical matter of what is, not the ideal political theory of a vocal minority. Move to Wyoming or Utah if you want to pursue your libertarian lifestyle and leave us “statists” in peace.

          • April 15, 2015 at 2:47 pm rochester_veteran responds:

            Oh God, here we go. It is a practical matter of what is, not the ideal political theory of a vocal minority. Move to Wyoming or Utah if you want to pursue your libertarian lifestyle and leave us “statists” in peace.

            Love it or leave it, Sean? How very “right wing” of you!

          • I take that as a complement Rochester_veteran.

          • Here in NY when you are told to follow the law, you do as well, unless you’re one of these Sovereign Citizen nuts who thinks you’re above the law. I suppose when I’m driving 48 miles an hr. in a 40 zone, have you to thank for blowing past me and everyone else at 60 b/c you think your right to speed and endanger the rest of us overrides everyone else’s right to get where their going safely. I suppose you don’t have a driver’s license or maintain insurance on your vehicle, both of which are state law. No? Then understand this: The standardized tests are state law. Your children have no right to “opt out” of them. This movement began by some people with their own partisan agenda who mistake the tests for the do-not-call registry. It is not. It is state law and must be obeyed. This is not ancient Greece. This is not some anarchist camp, despite what anti-government people want to think. This is a representative democracy. The people through their elected representatives, have chosen to standardized testing. GET OVER IT! If you can’t we have therapists available.

        • April 17, 2015 at 10:10 am rochester_veteran responds:

          Here in NY when you are told to follow the law, you do as well, unless you’re one of these Sovereign Citizen nuts who thinks you’re above the law.

          So, do as you’re told by the state and be a good little sheeple and maybe they’ll not kick our doors in the middle of the night, at their whim. If you want to be a good little sheeple, then be one. You’re obviously not a student of history because if you were, you’d know how little it takes for government to go bad and turn on its citizens. I applaud the rebellion against Common Core as it’s the citizenry rising up, in the true fashion that America was founded upon, rejecting a deeply flawed directive from the government. It’s our children’s futures that are at stake and contrary to your opinion, our children do not belong to the state.

          • How ironic b/c first of all, I actually am a qualified student of history, holding two degrees in that discipline with highest honors. Second of all, being a responsible citizen means following the law. It is not any of your business, but there are many areas of policy where I disagree with the Governor. This is not one of them. Being a mature, responsible citizen means following the law. The “rebellion” against Common Core is of a small, vocal minority of people who believe themselves not bound by the contract created when the Constitution was put into operation. The government has derived its consent from the governed and each subsequent generation has implicitly agreed to be bound by that contract.
            Also keep in mind that boards of education and superintendents are bound by oaths of office that REQUIRE them to adhere to the regulations of the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education. Since the state mandates these exams, they are mandated to administer them or be prosecuted for violating their oaths of office.
            China and India are not going away. The educational standards in this country are not “standard” in any sense of the word and are weak at best. While Common Core has flaws, what is your proposal? Where are your suggestions on how to improve the quality of education in this state? The answer is that it appears you have none. You’re content to hurl uncreative and rude insults at people with whom you disagree. I do request and require that you be careful in this regard as there are many laws governing libel in this country and I will exercise my right to utilize them if I feel it is necessary and proper.
            The “opt out” numbers are actually quite small. Over 1 million students took the test according to the D+C. 155,000 did not. Less than 15%. That is hardly a majority, a plurality or anything approaching a number that is statistically significant. If you were a student of statistics, you would know that. Also I absolutely never said anything about anyone’s children “belonging to the state.” I don’t think that at all. You are allowing your anti-government rhetoric to project opinions into other people’s mouths, which is uncalled for. I don’t know you and don’t really wish to if this is your attitude. Your opinion is duly noted. Don’t ever, EVER mistake your opinion for my facts.

        • April 17, 2015 at 1:05 pm rochester_veteran responds:

          I actually am a qualified student of history, holding two degrees in that discipline with highest honors.

          OK, gotcha, a legend in your own mind, like most “know-it-alls” that I’ve crossed paths with. Later alligator! 🙂

          • No, not a “legend,” I simply seem to know things you don’t, as evident by the poor quality of your posts. And I’m human, not an alligator. 🙂 Cheers!

  16. I’m sorry but the law in NY is that students must take certain assessments. Now that is the law. Their parents vote (or not) for the legislators who make the law but at the end of the day, what the legislators say, goes. We live in a representative government, not a democracy. Everyone who is eligible can vote if they wish. Once they have voted, the lawmakers make the laws. As a responsible citizen, it is our job to obey the laws and to teach the next generation to obey the laws. Taking an exam is one part of that. Get over it.

  17. Is there really a LAW that states the students HAVE to take the test? How are students opting out….are they given a form or do they have to submit a note from their parent? Who then is breaking this LAW? Is it the parents, the students or the school administrators who are allowing the opt out? What is the punishment for opting out…..a fine or jail? I hope Sean can answer these questions for all of us. Also, if it is the law, how do students at schools like McQuaid or other private schools not have to take these tests? Aren’t laws for everyone? My guess would be it isn’t a LAW. It may be a part of a recommended ciriculum or something similar passed down by the department of education. Luckily, we live in a country where we have a constitution and certain rights. I am not a scholar, but I am not aware of any amendments which state everyone must adhere to all recommendations made by these so-called educators. I don’t believe any parent is teaching their kids that it is OK to ignore a law by opting out of these tests. As for our elected representatives thoughts, I haven’t heard one peep from our local state representatives on their take on this issue. I believe their silence speaks for itself.

    • Public schools are for all. They are under the authority of the local board of education, the state Education Commissioner, the Board of Regents and the state Legislature. If parents want to homeschool their children, let them. Otherwise, yes they must follow the law. If schools do not have 95% participation with the test, the state education department can reduce their funding, among other remedies. The law is one size fits all. It is not my problem if some pampered child gets “nerves” at having to take an exam. I used to throw up. You take the damn test. It’s not brain surgery. The parents are forcing their children to act as their proxies for their own political agenda. That’s cowardly. Fight your own battles. Don’t use your children to do it for you. I don’t have children but I have to pay taxes to support the schools. So I pay for your children to be “special” and not have to participate b/c we wouldn’t want the poor dears to have stress. I fight my own battles as is clearly evident here. If you have a problem with the governor b/c of his ideological agenda, vote for someone else. Write him a polite letter. Rally in Albany (but keep off the Capitol lawn). Don’t use your children as your pawn. That cowardice. “Opting out” of a simple test is also cowardice. It’s a test. Grow up, all of you.

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