Parents and teachers share deep concerns about over-testing resulting from the state’s botched implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). Concerns include: stress on students, appropriateness of tests, erosion of learning time and lack of state transparency on test content. Parents who decide it is not in their children’s best interests to take these assessments are part of an “Opt-Out” movement that is growing nationally and in New York state. NYSUT fully supports parents’ right to choose what is best for their children – including NYSUT members who decide as parents to opt their child out of state tests. In addition, NYSUT encourages members to exercise their rights as professionals to speak out against the harmful effects of high-stakes tests – and will vigorously defend members if a district brings disciplinary charges in that event.
The State Education Department (SED), which has a vested interest in ensuring students take the assessments, claims there is no provision in state law that allows students to “Opt-Out” and has provided little guidance to districts. Some school districts have provided parents with inaccurate information on the consequences of opting out.
This NYSUT Fact Sheet attempts to clear up the misinformation by reviewing the federal requirements for participation in the state assessments and potential consequences of opting-out for districts, students and teachers.