Archives For opt out

TestingTomorrow, April 1st, students across NY State will take the second year of Common Core aligned tests.  Last year’s test administration was a disaster, but continue rollout this year of the standards revealed what a deeply flawed project they are. The resistance, however, is growing: parents are opting their children out of the tests in large numbers, and some teachers are refusing to administer them.*

MORE adds its voice with the following statement about why we oppose the common core:

MORE is opposed to the Common Core standards because they are inextricably linked to a reform package that includes punitive high-stakes testing, unproven and unreliable measurements of student and teacher performance and scripted curriculum produced not by teachers, but by corporations. After 30 years of manufactured crises and failed solutions, the elements of this package, including the standards, are being used as ideological battering rams to attack the very concept of public education, replacing it with a profit-making privatization scheme.

The Common Core standards are undemocratic. They were written without meaningful teacher input, and educators do not have the freedom to use them as they see fit.   Continue Reading…

Change the Stakes
Changethestakes.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2014

CONTACT:
Janine Sopp, 917-541-6062, janinesopp@gmail.com
Nancy Cauthen, 646-438-1233, nkcauthen@earthlink.net

Number of NYC Parents Refusing State Tests Expected to Triple in 2014

New York City –What began two years ago as a small pocket of resistance has burgeoned into a full-blown protest movement: public school parents are demanding an end to the excessive use of standardized tests and top-down, corporate-backed reforms.  Change the Stakes estimates that three times as many NYC school children as last year – perhaps exceeding 1,000 – will refuse to take the annual English Language Arts (ELA) and math exams that begin next week.

At the Brooklyn New School, well over 200 students – nearly 80% of students in testing grades – will not take this year’s exams; last year only 4 BNS students opted out of the tests. The estimated test refusal rate at the Earth School in Manhattan is 50%, compared with 30% last year. At P.S. 446 in Brownsville, as many as 25 3rd grade parents have submitted refusal letters. At the Academy of Arts and Letters in Fort Greene, the number is 40, representing 75% of the 3rd grade. Principals say they expect the numbers to continue to rise until the exams begin April 1st.

Although children not taking the tests span the full range from 3rd to 8th grade, parents of younger children often refuse the tests because of changes in their child’s attitude toward school as a result of the testing.

Roseanne Cuffy-Scott, parent of a 3rd grader in the East Village said, “My son used to love going to school until his evenings were filled with homework assignments that confused him with complicated and poorly written math and reading questions. His assignments are stressful for both him and myself. I have to spend hours explaining concepts that he’s not ready for developmentally.” As for the tests, she said her son is nervous and “is fearful he will have to attend summer school or repeat third grade.”

Many parents refusing to have their children tested encounter supportive principals and teachers, while others are not so fortunate. Samantha De Los Santos, parent of a 3rd grader with special needs in Queens’ District 25, wants to opt her son out but says administrators and staff are pressuring her to allow her son to be tested. “They’re telling me he’ll be scored as failing if he doesn’t take the test and that he might not be promoted. They’re really scaring me.”

The lack of direction from the NYC Department of Education has led to uncertainty among administrators about how to respond to families refusing the tests; parents are still seeking guidance from the DOE. Although the new Chancellor, Carmen Fariña, has made clear her intent to be more responsive to parents, her department’s efforts have been hampered by the transition falling in the middle of the school year and pressure to tackle a multitude of issues at once.

The information vacuum has fostered misinformation, with students being threatened with various punishments – being forced to attend summer school or denied promotion as well as being excluded from graduation ceremonies and other school celebrations – for opting out of the tests.

But many parents refuse to be dissuaded from protecting their children from a public education system gone wrong. Dawn Babbush, a 3rd grade parent in Brooklyn’s District 13, asks “What has happened to our schools? How did it get this bad? The voices of trusted educators and caring parents have been completely disregarded.  Our children are being subjected to a curriculum that lacks joy and life – it’s scripted and standardized and full of test prep. Test scores are used to sort students and rank teachers, creating a climate of competition and fear. It’s no wonder teachers feel pressure to teach to the test.”

Ms. Babbush added, “This is not the education we want for our children and we will not stand for it any longer. Parents have a voice, and our elected officials need to recognize us. We’ll be paying attention come November.”

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Change the Stakes (changethestakes.org) is a group of New York City parents and educators promoting alternatives to high stakes-testing.

Support the Opt-Out Movement & Learn How to Organize Your Chapter

THURSDAY 2/27: ORGANIZING WORKSHOP

A LABOR NOTES TROUBLEMAKERS SCHOOL

strengthinnumbersOverwhelmed by the challenges of organizing in your school? Want to share ideas with other dedicated, creative chapter leaders and activists?

Come to a workshop on organizing your members to create a more active, involved union chapter. Discuss organizing challenges with other chapter leaders and strategize creative solutions to build teacher and para power in your school!

What challenges are you facing in your school? - Take our Chapter Leader Survey

Thursday, February 27, 5:00pm

TWU Local 100 Offices

195 Montague St., 3rd Fl., Rm C, Brooklyn

FRIDAY 2/28: MEET WITH PARENTS WHO ARE SAYING NO!

Sponsored by Change the Stakes    

 

(Please Share Widely with your friends, PTAs, SLTs, Parent Lists, teachers)

 
As children and teachers enter the spring “testing season,” parents must decide if we will continue to allow our children to support high-stakes testing. There are many ways to resist the tests and demand social justice for all public school students.

Meet with others who choose to refuse and are organizing others to do the same.  
•    Learn what is at stake, ways you can resist and how.  
•    Help educate your school community, organize, mobilize and possibly opt out. 
•    Even if you feel like a lone voice, you are not alone! 
•    It is time for parents to protect their children and resist by saying NO!

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28
5:30 to 7:30pm
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Ave, Rm 5409
[corner of 5th Ave & 34th St; entrance on 5th]
Bring photo ID to enter

 
 
For more info, visit www.changethestakes.org or email changethestakes@gmail.com

Flyer1-1

RALLY 042613 4 pm


Whether or not your children took the state tests, please join a rally in front of Tweed on FRIDAY 4/26 at 4pm to protest the ways that high-stakes testing is robbing our children of a decent education!
  BRING THE KIDS!

RALLY 


CLEANING UP the MESS of HIGH STAKES TESTING and 

Putting Back the ‘PUBLIC’ in Public Education


Our children are NOT a test score!


WHEN:  Friday, April 26 at 4 pm*


WHERE:  TWEED NYC Department of Education

52 Chambers Street (4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge.  N, R to City Hall.  J to Chambers Street)


WHO:  Families, Teachers, Children and Supporters of Educational Justice


WHY:  Because private schools already said “NO!” to high stakes testing!

Because WE demand 180 days of learning!

Because schools should foster a love for life long learning.

Because positive relationships between schools and families are at the core of learning.


BRING SIGNS with YOUR VISION and DEMANDS for the SCHOOLS 

we want OUR CHILDREN to be in.  

Bring Mops, Brooms, Scrub brushes, 

Buckets and cleaning supplies to Mop UP the MESS!  

Bring #2 Pencils for us to transform them into a new vision of Public Education


JOIN Change The Stakes (www.changethestakes.organd Time Out From Testing (www.timeoutfromtesting.org)

*Rain Date:  Tuesday, April 30 @ 4 pm

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https://www.facebook.com/events/121996241329636/?notif_t=plan_edited