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Saturday, September 20, 2014
Opposed to ‘excessive testing’
Some parents opt out of state exams
Howard Schwach

A Malverne father, who asked not to be identified because he fears retribution from his child’s school, said that he struggled with his conscience for days before instructing his child to go to school but to refuse to take the state English Language Arts test last week.

The man said that he read the “rules” for refusing to take the test online.

“I told my child to sit down at his desk, read the first two pages of the test but make no marks on any page — not even write a name on the paper,” he said. “I told my child to ask to go to another room where the test was not being administered, but his teacher refused. My child had to sit there for a few hours while the other kids around him took the test.”

He said that he was opting his son out of the test as a protest against the high-stakes testing system that he says made his son physically ill and disdainful of school.

“I am all for standards and like the Common Core curriculum,” the man said. “[But] with the focus on testing and accountability, the kids really aren’t learning anymore. All they learn is how to take the test. There is little social studies, science or foreign language teaching anymore. It’s all about pliance rate would lose state aid in future budget negotiations.

The English Language Arts test was given over three days, April 16-18. The math exam was scheduled to be given this Wednesday through Friday.

A number of parents chose to opt out, beginning what many are saying is a movement that will likely grow each year.

Two students opted out in the West Hempstead schools, a district official said. The official would not say what grade or grades the students were in, saying only, “We don’t talk about individual kids or test situations.”

Robert Fenter, a deputy superintendent in Oceanside, said that 15 students in the district opted out of taking the test.

In Malverne, there were two opt-outs, one at the middle school and another in an elementary school.

Island Park officials declined to give a number, but said in a statement that both the Board of Education and district administrators “believe that there are too many tests these days, especially those related to the new student learning objectives.”

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