Parents taking part in a movement spreading across Long Island have refused to let their children sit for state-mandated testing, protesting academic standards that they say have become unrealistically challenging.
The tests are given annually, at the end of the school year, to children in grades three through eight. While the number of refusals has varied by district, only nine of 3,200 test-eligible children in the East Meadow School District sat out the English Language Arts and math exams, which were administered over the past two weeks.
According to the New York State Education Department, there is no “opt out” provision available to parents. If a student refuses to take an assessment, he or she will be recorded as “not tested.” Any action beyond that, the department maintains, is in the hands of the school district.
This year’s tests are based on the new Common Core Learning Standards, which were implemented across the state. The more rigorous curriculum is designed to ensure that students are ready for college or careers when they graduate from high school.
But some parents say that the enhanced standards have had an adverse effect on education as well as their children’s well being, going as far as to allege that the pressures associated with the tests have caused their children to develop anxiety. Indeed, a Facebook group called Long Island Opt-out Info had more than 8,600 members as of April 23.