My 9 year old son is supposed to to take the NY State ELA and Math Tests this upcoming week at his NYC public school. But we’ve decided that we’re opting out.
We just made this decision the other night and it was not an easy one. We don’t feel that it’s right for our child and while we absolutely adore the teachers at his school, we don’t think that they have been able to teach the way they want to because of the tests.
I taught in the NYC schools for 6 years and the year I taught third grade, it was a major focus of what we did. The kids definitely suffered and I know my son’s education has suffered also. While he does have an IEP and would get some modifications, we still don’t feel that this is a test that is designed properly and for the right reasons.
Live in NYC like I do? You can opt out without your child’s status or promotion being in jeopardy. Print out the letter I link to below and make your voice heard!
Do you want to opt your child out?
You only need to inform your principal in writing. Confirm that they got your letter and make sure your child will have a grade appropriate activity to do instead during the testing time. I plan to make sure my child has a couple of chapter books with him, because I am not sure what he will be doing yet.
Update after the test:
I brought the letter to my son’s school two days before the tests. They made me meet quickly with the Assistant Principal, who didn’t try to talk me out of it, but did mention that the school could lose funding if too many children (under 95%) opted out. Due to the Opt out message boards, I knew this wasn’t true. I kept pretty quiet and didn’t say much to her. The letter had really covered everything. The Assistant Principal also mentioned that my son may have to go to a lower grade instead of staying with his class. While this ended up happening, we didn’t think it was a bad thing.
The Math test was 3 days and then 3 days the next week. My son ended up spending some of his days with other students in his grade who opted out. Two of the days were spent with a lower grade (1st grade). He did work in his workbooks, he read.. I made sure I sent plenty of snacks and two chapter books with him per day. On the second to last day of testing, I was allowed to take him out for Take Your Child to Work Day (my boss was allowed to excuse him).
I found a great resource at Changing the Stakes that lets you actually download a word document that you can personalize and print out to give to your child’s principal, should you decide to opt out. I will be bringing this letter to his principal tomorrow.
Find the letter here: https://changethestakes.wordpress.com/testing-info/how-to-opt-out-of-state-standardized-tests/sample-opt-out-letter/ (and yes, this is perfect for NYC students).
Why you can boycott the tests without your school being penalized: http://www.fairtest.org/why-you-can-boycott-testing-without-fear
I spoke to other parents on facebook, there are some groups on facebook that actually can help you if you are on the fence. Due to privacy issues, I didn’t feel right posting the link to the group I got info from, but if you message me or leave a comment, I’m happy to email the link privately.
Note: This should be a decision that you make as a family. We made a decision that we are comfortable with. Make a decision that works for your child. Are you opting out? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.