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Monday, April 21, 2014
Some parents opt out of state tests
Howard Schwach

Oceanside resident Ellen Fogel struggled with her conscience and her duty to her children for days prior to the recent state testing program.

Was she going to let her children take the tests that she considered to be part or a system that has “become educationally insolvent” due to state mandates not only on what should be taught, but on how students should be tested and evaluated on what they have or have not learned.

“It was a very hard decision the mother of two school-age children said. “I went back and forth. I was not afraid of whether or not they would fail, but that the testing program was actually making my daughter ill, with a nervous stomach and bouts o throwing up.”

“There is a lot more to this common core testing program than we are seeing, a hidden political agenda to take over the schools from local control and do away with tenure for teachers,” she said. “If you make the tests so onerous and difficult, then you can blame the failure on the teachers and the schools and user them to fulfill an agenda.”

“We keep pressuring students with more tests and more homework, we are going to have a generation of depressed kids,:” she added.

Fogel eventually sent her kids to school to take the test, mostly because she was afraid of the ramifications of them not taking them and because she was not sure what the impact would be of her opting-out.

State officials has said earlier that students would not be punished for opting out, but that school systems that did not have a 95 percent compliance rate would find themselves losing state aid in future budget negotiations.

The English Language Arts test was given over three days, April 16, 17 and 18. The mathematics tests will be given April 24, 25 and 26.

A number of parents did opt-out, the beginning of what many are saying is a movement that would likely grow each year.

Two students opted out in the West Hempstead schools, an official said. The official would not discuss what grade or grades the students were in.

` “We don’t talk about individual kids or test situation,” the person said.

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

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