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Recently the Néw York Times ran a front-page article about the growth of the Opt Out movement and how it was becoming a powerful political force in Néw York.
A mom who was interviewed for the article wrote a letter to the Times to challenge its description of the motives of parents (the letter was circulated among supporters of Opt Out):
“As one of the parents quoted in this article I was deeply disappointed that the true reasons parents are refusing these particular tests were not clearly identified.
“We did not initiate a test refusal movement because we are supporting teachers or because we don’t want our kids to be over tested.
“The NYS common core tests in math and ELA are leading to a trend that is ruining public education as we know it. Because they are linked to 50% of teacher evaluations they are forcing teachers to teach to the tests.
“Our children are learning that there is only one right answer to a question, they are being taught how to take a test, not to ask questions, and science and social studies are disappearing from our children’s curriculum due to these high stakes tests that emphasize math and ELA.
“The children in our district in grades 3- 8 take over 15 other standard tests over the course of the year to track their progress. Those other tests are shorter in duration , age appropriate and educators and administrators have actually found the information in those tests valuable.
“If inequities of a school are not being identified, its not because of a lack of testing. The NYS common core tests are non transparent, and therefore useless tools for teachers to see where they need to improve, not to mention they are developed by corporations, not educators, and they take over 3 weeks of time out of our children classroom that could be used for meaningful instruction.
“In all fairness, these reasons for test refusal should be more clearly identified to the general public.”