Well, the battle lines have been drawn.
NYSED, NYSSBA, Commissioner King, and Governor Cuomo have publicly and loudly said “There is NO OPTING OUT of State Tests in NY.” Additionally, there is now a movement afoot in NY in which students will have to verbally refuse the test themselves (no note from a parent will do) and sit there for the duration doing NOTHING.
Of course, one could keep their child home on all 12 testing days – but there are also those making threats that CPS could be called for “Educational Neglect” if a child has too many illegal absences.
There has even been some encouragement from attorneys for NYSSBA to examine student handbooks. I don’t know about the rest of you, dear readers, but I take that as encouragement for districts to add some sort of ‘punishment’ if a student refuses to take a State Test.
Parents, too, have drawn a line. They say their children will indeed refuse the tests! These brave parents are out there in the news almost daily now. They have done their homework. They have read the regulations. They have spent hours on the phone with NYSED. They have met with their Principals and Superintendents.
And, despite what some critics of this rapidly growing refusal movement would have you believe – these parents are in no way “using” their children as pawns in some sort of game. They have spoken to their children. They have explained to them what civil disobedience is and what it means to refuse the test. They have talked to their children to find out what their children think and feel. They have, in fact, gone to great lengths to explain to their children that this is not an action against their teachers or their schools – this is an action against NYSED and NYS.
I hope that we don’t get to a point where there have to be “men with guns over there”. I hope earnestly that cooler heads will prevail and that real conversations about authentic assessment for children AND teachers will happen. I hope that local schools will once again have control. I hope that we, collectively, as a society will decide once and for all that our children should be RESPECTED and not treated as guinea pigs in some grand “Reform Experiment”.
Testing days begin next week in NYS, and for what it’s worth there will be thousands of children refusing the tests! You know, just some young people speaking their minds.