Category Archives: APPR

New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), Long Island Opt Out, New York BATs, NYC Opt Out and Stronger Together Join Forces

Commissioner Elia & NYSED Untimed Testing Policy Violates Law: Parents & Educators Demand Board of Regents Intervene

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 11, 2016  nysape
More information contact:
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) www.nysape.org
Commissioner Elia & NYSED Untimed Testing Policy Violates Law:
Parents & Educators Demand Board of Regents Intervene

Despite efforts by NYS Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia and others to suppress refusal numbers, it appears that the opt out rate for the NYS Common Core ELA tests in grades 3-8 matched or surpassed last year’s figures. As a result of Commissioner Elia’s unilateral decision to implement a policy of untimed testing, some 8, 9, and 10-year old students sat for hours trying to finish these exams, in some cases taking 4-6 hours per day for three consecutive days.

Not only does the practice of untimed testing for young students violate the generally accepted standards for test development as per the American Psychological Association, parents and educators contend that it is breaking the law.  In 2014, New York State passed a law placing a 1% cap on the amount of instructional hours that could be spent on mandated state testing. As a result of Commissioner Elia’s new untimed test directive, many students have spent more than 4 times the amount of time on state testing than New York State law allows.

Parents and educators are demanding the Board of Regents put a stop to a policy that was not only implemented by the Commissioner without a Board of Regents’ vote, but is unsupported by research, violates the 1% test cap law and ultimately, results in cruel and grossly inappropriate testing conditions.

Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator and technical advisor to the Task Force said, “It is outrageous that despite the Common Core Task Force’s recommendation that the state undertake a formal review of untimed testing, Commissioner Elia, a member of the task force, chose to forgo her own recommendation and essentially experiment on our children by implementing an untimed testing without formal review or a vote by the Board of Regents.”

“These tests teach children to hate school and establish bad memories associated with testing which will persist for decades. Once again, policy makers have shown that they do not understand children or schools. We will not allow New York state to abuse our children’s sincere desire to do well. Until we see radical change, opt outs will continue to grow,” said Charmaine Dixon, Brooklyn public school parent, PTA President PS 203.

“Not only did the Commissioner bypass any formal review, under her leadership NYSED failed to require school districts to maintain any data regarding the number of students testing beyond the suggested end times, let alone how long students worked for.  This sloppy oversight reflects a gross lack of concern for the many young children who sat for up to 18 hours of testing over the course of three days last week and will make it more difficult for parents and policymakers to have a true understanding of how much instructional time has been lost to testing and whether or not the state law has been broken. One can only hope that this oversight was not intentional,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent and educator.

“Without any oversight or monitoring of its impact, this policy is directing schools to violate the 1% test cap law. The failure of the NYSED to keep any official records of how long individual students are spending on these tests is neglectful at best. At worst, this is a blatant attempt to evade the law and deceive the public under the guise of reducing test anxiety for children,” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

“There has to be a better way forward for our children. Students are working incredibly hard to do their best and are sometimes testing for 4 hours in a single sitting. For students with special needs, English language learners, and those who aren’t developmentally ready, these untimed tests are akin to torture. We must pivot toward a holistic education system where kids are inspired to share their brilliance and do their best, as opposed to our current poorly designed top down test and punish system. Neither the SAT, GRE, or LSAT, take as long to complete as the current 3rd grade ELA exam. We have to do better,” said Jamaal Bowman, parent and Bronx educator.

In a recent interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal news, Commissioner Elia stated “We’re going to look to try to get it down from three days (of testing) to two, maybe we won’t be able to … we’re going to review it.” Clearly there is no end in sight to developmentally inappropriate state assessments that waste valuable instructional time and violate the state’s test cap law.

NYSAPE, a grassroots coalition with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state, is calling on parents to continue to opt out by refusing high-stakes, inappropriate testing for the 2015-16 school year. Go to www.nysape.org for more details.

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KPCTA: Changes are a good step in the right direction, but not sufficient enough to remove the concerns surrounding the State tests.

The following was posted on the Kings Park Classroom Teachers Association’s Facebook Page.  Please consider sharing with your friends.

Over the last couple of years, parents have become increasingly aware of the high stakes associated with State standardized tests administered in 3rd through 8th grade in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Many parents are looking towards their child’s teacher for advice and guidance. First and foremost, it would be inappropriate for any individual teacher to advise you on whether or not to refuse the test for your child. As President of the Kings Park Classroom Teachers Association (KPCTA), however, it is my job on behalf of all our teachers to point out the difficulties with these exams.

NYS recently enacted some small changes for this year’s tests. It is our opinion that these changes are a good step in the right direction, but not sufficient enough to remove the concerns surrounding the State tests. Students who sit for the exams will still encounter tests that were made by a test vendor who has no idea who your child is, let alone their individual strengths or weaknesses. The State has said that the tests will be shorter, but as you look closely, in many cases the difference is only a few questions compared to the number in prior years. Students will still be spending many hours over multiple days taking these tests. Additionally, teachers continue to be under pressure to provide “test prep,” as the assessment data from these exams is still reportable to NYS. All of this translates to undue stress on the students and an unnecessary loss of instructional time. The KPCTA is strongly opposed to the usage of high stakes standardized tests to evaluate students and teachers.
If you determine that your child will not take these tests, it is imperative that they refuse the entire “battery” of the ELA, Math, and/or Science tests. If they take a portion of the test on one day and then refuse on the remaining day(s), their test will be scored on the portion of the test they completed, producing a lower than normal score which could have a detrimental effect.

As for the procedure to indicate a test refusal, I encourage you to notify your child’s teacher as soon as possible. The NYS Allies for Public Education (www.nysape.org) along with the Kings Park Advocates for Education (www.kpae.us) both have sample letters posted on their websites available for you to use in indicating a test refusal for your child.
Protecting the educational, social, and emotional wellbeing of all students is what brings individuals into the teaching profession. We will continue to be strong advocates for a safe, appropriate, and healthy learning environment for all of our students. It is our hope that in the future both the Federal and State Education departments leave curriculum and assessment decisions in the hands of the professionals in the field – your teachers!

Sincerely,
Christopher Philp, President

The Message of 220,000 Opt-Outs Has Not Been Heard: Elia Calls Opt-Out Parents “Unreasonable” and Cuomo Continues Trampling on the NYS Constitution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 4, 2015
More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org

The Message of 220,000 Opt-Outs Has Not Been Heard: Elia Calls Opt-Out Parents “Unreasonable”
and Cuomo Continues Trampling on the NYS Constitution

For over three years parents across New York have called on Albany to substantially change the direction of education reforms built on the flawed Common Core, its intertwined high-stakes testing and fundamentally broken teacher evaluation system.

Despite outrage with the appointment of an education commissioner without a public process, parents initially withheld their concerns with MaryEllen Elia and the reports of her support for Common Core reforms coupled with a heavy-handed, non-collaborative approach that factored in her firing in Florida.

Just a few short weeks into her appointment in New York however, Elia has proven parent skeptics right. She has adopted the “tough-talk” tactics of Andrew Cuomo and Merryl Tisch, apparently as cover for a governor and chancellor who have dramatically softened their education rhetoric to the public. Elia has labeled opt out parents as ‘unreasonable’, opt out supporting educators ‘unethical’ and threatened funding cuts if opt outs are not stopped.

In a press release yesterday expressing “sympathy” for parents, Cuomo called for a review of the Common Core in New York, blaming the State Education Department’s implementation while vowing to revive his Common Core panel to review the mess.

Parents across the state are not fools. They know the problems are hardly limited to implementation of the Common Core, but the actual Common Core itself, its excessive testing, and a fundamentally broken teacher evaluation system.

Parents know that Andrew Cuomo is not part of the solution. Cuomo is the problem.

It is Cuomo who forced his unproven teacher evaluation system down parents’ throats.

It is Cuomo who slashed and underfunded the State Education Department staffing.

It is Cuomo who accepted ‘Big Donor’ campaign money and enabled the build-up of a privatized, unaccountable shadow government within the State Education Department –The Regents Research Fellows—who created the “Implementation” mess Cuomo now blames.

It is Cuomo who repeatedly tramples on the New York State Constitution–which gives a NY Governor NO authority over education policy—with his serial habit of forming pro-corporate education reform stacked panels, complete with Washington lobbyists salivating to eliminate parental consent for data profiling of children.

Parents of New York are outraged and will continue the fight to take back their schools and classrooms from the Albany shenanigans of Andrew Cuomo, Merryl Tisch and MaryEllen Elia.

“In New York, Governor Cuomo and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, teamed up for the past five years to turn theory and promise of the Common Core into a living nightmare for our children and their teachers. Parents see through the ploys and will not back down. We will continue to refuse to participate in the Common Core tests that are destroying our schools and our children’s education. Governor Cuomo’s role in this mess will not be ignored.” – Jeannette Deutermann, Long Island public school parent and Long Island Opt Out founder.

“The spirit of our children is being broken. When will Albany start really paying attention and make the changes that parents are asking? We want our classrooms back, we want our teachers to teach, and we want a well-rounded curriculum for all our children. More test prep or testing is not the answer to closing the achievement gap.” –Charmaine Dixon, Brooklyn public school parent and NYC Opt Out member.

“Parents will not stop fighting for their kids. Tests MUST be decoupled from teacher evaluations, state tests MUST be reduced, and student data MUST NOT be shared without parental consent.” –Eric Mihelbergel, Western NY public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.

“The corrupt influence of ‘Big Money’ and ‘Big Data’ Collection in New York has ushered in the most destructive education laws and policies in the nation based on model American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) legislation and “pushed” by the privatized Regent Research Fellows think tank. Parents very clearly see how profit motives are driving the loss of local control in their children’s classroom…and they reject it.” -Lisa Rudley, Westchester public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.

“The results of the recent annual PDK/Gallup education poll are telling. An overwhelming majority (64%) of Americans say there is too much emphasis on testing in schools and a majority of public school parents oppose the Common Core. How much longer will parents in New York tolerate what Albany is doing to their children’s classrooms? The next election cycle will be very telling,” said Jessica McNair, Central NY public school parent, educator, and CNY Opt Out founder.

NYSAPE, a grassroots organization with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state are calling on parents to continue to opt out by refusing high-stakes testing starting on the first days of school. Go to http://www.nysape.org/resources.html for more details on the how to be part of the Great Opt Out of this decade.

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NYSAPE Meeting with Commissioner MaryEllen Elia Recap

This was sent via email from our friends at NYSAPE.

On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, NYSAPE steering committee members Carol Burris, Nancy Cauthen, Jeanette Deutermann, Leonie Haimson, Jessica McNair, Lisa Rudley, Anna Shah, Bianca Tanis, and Katie Zahedi along with Diane Ravitch sat down with the new Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia. Also in attendance was SED Chief of External Affairs, Dennis Tompkins.

The purpose of this meeting was to introduce ourselves to the new Commissioner and inform her of our position and our views of troubling NYSED policies. Commissioner Elia was cordial and spent a great deal of time listening to our concerns.

Our meeting confirmed what many have already surmised, Commissioner Elia is deeply committed to the Common Core standards and the test based accountability system that has led to the widespread opt out movement.

Of note, NYSAPE learned that NYSED will still be using the fired testing company Pearson’s ELA & Math tests this spring with Questar assessments beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.

We informed Commissioner Elia of parent concerns and assured her that the opt out movement will continue to grow until changes to laws and policies are made. This document was presented to Commissioner Elia.

NYSAPE may meet with the Commissioner and members of her leadership team in the future as she expressed an interest in keeping the lines of communication open. We will be sure to update you about further developments.

Click here to see the letter sent by NYSAPE to Commissioner Elia

NYSAPE: No Relief in Sight; Parents Will Continue to Opt Out Until Fundamental Changes are Evident

The following is a press release from our friends at NYSAPE.  KPAE is a strong supporter of this organization.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 16, 2015
 More information contact:
Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) – www.nysape.org   

                                     No Relief in Sight; Parents Will Continue to Opt Out Until Fundamental Changes are Evident

The end of the Albany legislative session in June brought no relief for parents of New York seeking to reduce the most excessive testing regime and reverse the most destructive education policies in the nation.

However, parent efforts, while not sufficiently rewarded, nysapehave led to shifting winds of change in the Empire State.  For the first time in recent memory, massive spending by ‘Big Money’ donors were beaten back by the voices of the people and the Assembly, who resoundingly shut down Governor Cuomo’s unconstitutional attempt to illegally divert public dollars to fund private schools through his proposed Education Tax Credit based on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Similarly, attempts to increase the cap on charter schools by the GOP-led Senate were rejected.

After the close of session, the independent Board of Regents, fired embattled school testing giant Pearson corporation.  That change coupled with several leadership departures at the State Education Department (NYSED) and an exodus of ‘Fellows’ in the privately funded Research Regent Fellows program offered glimpses of light for outraged parents.

Left untouched however, was Governor Cuomo’s unconstitutional education mandate to link his politically motivated teacher evaluation system to student test scores, a centerpiece of his ‘Big Money’ donor’s agenda.  A Siena poll this week shows that three out of four New York voters believe Cuomo’s education agenda is not working to help students.  Parents in this supermajority of New Yorkers will not rest until the harmful, inappropriate high-stakes testing linked to teacher evaluations is reversed and real fundamental changes are made to the educational landscape.

The Opt Out movement will continue to grow until parent control of student data privacy is restored, school districts regain local control, and test prep factories are driven from their children’s classrooms forever.

“We have seen the departure of the Commissioner of Education, Deputy Commissioner, numerous SED officials, a data collecting system, inBloom and now Pearson, the infamous testing company.  This in the end does not change the foundational issues with education policies in New York or bring relief to students.  Damaging laws, poorly designed education policies, a bullying governor, and an unresponsive Regents’ majority are the underlying problems.” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

“Parents across New York showed their force by opting out of harmful practices of high-stakes testing to reclaim their children’s classrooms and many were elected their school boards to advocate for their children.  Parents will be showing up in droves to refuse high-stakes tests and deny the data this coming year and casting their ballots in 2016 only for legislators that are truly advocating for our children,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Nassau County public school parent and found of Long Island Opt Out.

“In the end, even the legislature did little to protect our kids. Despite all of their promises, nothing was done to reduce time spent on testing or the secrecy surrounding inappropriate test questions. Legislation enabling teachers to discuss already released test questions is absurd. It is the un-released questions that often hold the most egregious examples of inappropriate content,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent, educator, and founding member of NYSAPE.

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters added, “The Education Tax Credit, an unconstitutional backdoor voucher system, was stopped in its tracks despite the ‘big money’ lobbying and relentless efforts of ‘mega donors’.  While the number of charter schools to be added in NYC doubled from 25 to 50, the Senate Republicans made sure that this would not affect their districts.”

“While six Board of Regent members took a bold stance in formulating a plan that would have provided some much needed relief from these harmful policies, they were defeated by the balance of the  board who opted to maintain the status quo,” said Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

NYSAPE, a grassroots organization with over 50 parent and educator groups across that state, are calling on parents to hand in their test refusal letters on the first day of school to reclaim their children’s classrooms and to stop the destruction of our public schools.  Updated 2016 test refusal letter coming soon.

NYSAPE: Albany Continues to Ignore Parents Ensuring the Opt–Out Movement Will Grow

F​OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2015
More information contact:
Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553­-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com
Lisa Rudley (917) 414­-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) –​​www.nysape.org

Albany Continues to Ignore Parents Ensuring the Opt­-Out Movement Will Grow

With the secretive appointment of MaryEllen Elia to the post of  NYS Commissioner of Education, the Board of Regents has ensured that the opt-out movement will continue to grow. The Board of Regents blatantly ignored the concerns of parents and entrusted the education of New York State’s three  million children to a vocal proponent of high stakes testing, evaluating teachers based on student test scores, merit pay, and career advancement based on test scores.

Praised by Arne Duncan and Jeb Bush, MaryEllen Elia (former recipient of a 100 million dollar Gates Foundation grant) is the wrong choice for New Yorkers who have become increasingly more opposed to high stakes testing and the Common Core.  Although union leaders and some advocacy groups have inexplicably praised the appointment of the new Commissioner, this  violation of the public trust reaffirms the obligations of  parents to protect the children of New York by refusing harmful high stakes tests.

“It is very disappointing that the selection of Ms. Elia was debated behind closed doors without public knowledge or input.  If the Regents want to repair the lack of confidence in our state education department, they should be listening and partnering with all stakeholders,” stated Chris Cerrone, school board member from Erie County.

Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent concurred, “Given Elia’s history of compromising the rights of students of color and special education students, the hasty decision to hire her is of deep concern. Tuesday’s appointment demonstrates that there should be greater checks and balances between the Regents and the public to assure accountability.”

Rockville Centre high school principal Carol Burris said, “Just last week members of the Board of Regents roundly criticized the new law mandating the increased use of test scores to evaluate teachers, going so far as to call the practice ‘indefensible’.  Yet this week the very same Board of Regents appointed a commissioner of education who openly supports not only high stakes testing but also merit pay and evaluation based on test scores. Clearly the message of opt-out was not heard–parents and rank and file teachers want child-centered, not test-centered schools.”

“Parents and civil rights leaders in the Tampa area were understandably concerned about the  disproportionately high rates of suspension of African American students during MaryEllen Elia’s tenure. It is disturbing that we now have a Commissioner of Education who was not only fired from her last job but who also generated criticism for strict disciplinary policies and racial disparities,“ said Nancy Cauthen, a New York City public school parent and a leader of Change the Stakes.

Bianca Tanis, an Ulster County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE said, “It is a sad day when the leadership of organizations like NYSUT, UFT, and AFT are willing to throw our children under the bus for a seat at the table with a new commissioner who clearly supports the harmful testing policies and practices that Karen Magee, Michael Mulgrew, and Randi Weingarten claim to oppose. Rank and file teachers are appalled by the behavior of the current union leadership.”

Jeanette Deutermann, a Nassau County public school parent and founder of Long Island Opt Out said, “The leadership of these organizations no longer represent the teachers in our classrooms that we know and love, the teachers who are willing to stand up for our children.  Parents will continue to lead this movement and urge teachers to demand new union leadership that puts children before politics.”

“We don’t have a communications problem as parents fully understand what is happening in their children’s classroom. Despite a half a million opt-outs & letters, Chancellor Tisch and Governor Cuomo are clearly full steam ahead with their corrupt school privatization agenda at the expense of common sense and amid the  outrage of the public school parents they serve,” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE.

Beth Dimino, Chair of the Stronger Together Caucus, a caucus within NYSUT, said, “It is the hope of ST Caucus that Ms. Elia will reverse her past positions on Common Core, high stakes testing, and teacher evaluations as her positions do not align with those of ST Caucus and those shared by the Board of Regents at their May 18th meeting.”

“During her first school visit, Elia told teachers, ‘Opt-outs are no good for teachers and no good for parents.’ It is concerning that she would make such a judgement prior to reviewing New York State Common Core tests or exploring why the resistance to those tests has been so strong.” said Ruth Quinn, a school board member from Ulster County.

The appointment of MaryEllen Elia represents a concerted effort to diminish the rights and concerns of public school parents. Her appointment ensures that the test refusal movement will grow as NYSAPE members continue to advocate for the elimination of test driven reforms that fly in the face of research and best educational practice.

NYSAPE is a coalition of over 50 grassroots parent and educator organizations across the state.

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Kings Park Advocates for Education Announce BOE Candidate Endorsements

Dear Kings Park Community,

The Kings Park Advocates for Education (KPAE) Steering Committee is excited to announce our endorsement of Diane Nally and Kevin Johnston for the Kings Park Board of Education.

Diane Nally

Diane Nally – KPAE Endorsed Candidate for Kings Park BOE

We are in an era of an unprecedented power struggle, in which the Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) and the New York State Board of Regents are on one side and local school boards, administrators, teachers and parents are on the other.  New York State has increased unfunded mandates, reduced local control of staffing decisions and instituted a 2% tax cap, all while reducing education funding to bridge state budget gaps.  This has left local districts scrambling to cut budgets and layoff staff which is causing the elimination of important programs and higher class sizes, especially for our most vulnerable children.  To make matters worse, local districts are currently being bullied into meeting unrealistic contract and budget deadlines under fear of losing even more funding.

Kevin-Johnston-2015w

Kevin Johnston – KPAE Endorsed Candidate for Kings Park BOE

This spring, 50% of Kings Park students were opted-out of grade 3-8 state testing by their parents.  Parents have clearly said,“enough is enough!”  We are confident that Diane Nally and Kevin Johnston represent the best candidates to advocate for our children, protect our schools from harmful policies, put education back into the hands of educators, and prevent our tax dollars from being squandered on unproven mandates.   We feel they are the best candidates to ensure an education system that is nurturing and focused on the whole child.

KPAE urges its network of students, parents, and community members to vote and advocate for Diane Nally and Kevin Johnston in the upcoming election.  Together we can begin the process of taking back local control of our schools and fight against the harmful “reforms” being foisted upon our children and our budgets.

Thank you for your anticipated support.

Yours Truly,

 

The Kings Park Advocates for Education Steering Committee
Katy Cardinale, Bill Claps, Debbie Danley, Shala Pascucci

KPAE

NYSAPE: NY Parents Have Spoken, Now It’s Time to Fix Cuomo’s Education Budget Debacle & Establish New Leadership for the Board of Regents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 23, 2015
More information contact:
Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123; nys.allies@gmail.com
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) – www.nysape.org

NY Parents Have Spoken, Now It’s Time to Fix Cuomo’s Education Budget Debacle & Establish New Leadership for the Board of Regents

For the past two years, New York State Allies for Public Education has warned elected and appointed officials about serious concerns related to excessive high-stakes state testing based on flawed and experimental learning standards, as well as the collection and sharing of private student data.

This past week, the national attention focused on the parent uprising taking place in New York State. Spurred to action by the refusal of both the Governor and the NYS Education Department’s failure to respond to legitimate concerns, thousands  of parents fought back to protect their children.

At this time, estimates indicate parents of close to 200,000 students this year have refused New York State’s Common Core testing agenda and the final figures are expected to be even higher.

The educational program of the state is in chaos.  Leadership is more important than ever. On Sunday, April 19th the Editorial Board of The Journal News declared, “The stunning success of the test-refusal movement in New York is a vote of no confidence in our state educational leadership” in calling for Chancellor Merryl Tisch to step aside.

New York State Allies for Public Education, a grassroots coalition of over fifty parent and educator advocacy organizations from all corners of the Empire State, stands with the Editorial Board of The Journal News.

Chancellor Tisch must step down. The only way for the Board of Regents, Assembly, and Senate to regain trust of their constituents is to call for the Regents to empower a new leader to fix within its authority, the Cuomo budget legislation fiasco and the misguided Regents Reform Agenda.

“Parents have been left with no choice. We will submit our refusal letters, which is our parental right, on day one of school, next year and every year and if those in power will not listen, we will free our children from a test driven, developmentally inappropriate education,” said Jeanette Deutermann, Nassau County public school parent and Long Island Opt Out founder.

“For the past two years Chancellor Tisch has repeatedly ignored parents at forums throughout the state. She is incapable of leading the state in a new direction because she believes what is happening is just fine and her latest plea for asking for more time is just a distraction from the real issues. Her repeated calls for critics to “calm down” indicates her unwillingness to change course.” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.

“On Chancellor Tisch’s watch, the work of the State Education Department has been outsourced to a privately funded ‘Regents Fellows’ think tank. It is not surprising that the reforms put forth by this think tank advance the agenda of the wealthy ‘yacht set’ and corporate-linked groups that fund the Regent Fellows: The Robin Hood Foundation, Gates Foundation, and even Chancellor Tisch herself.  When you replace a public service with a private organization that advances corporate agendas, New Yorkers know that is corruption,” said Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent and Schools of Thought Hudson Valley, NY founder.

“While the Governor has demonstrated blatant disregard for the will of the people by doubling down on the use of high stakes testing, the State Education Department and Chancellor Tisch similarly ignored parent concerns regarding inappropriate test content by forcing children to read passages on last week’s ELA tests that were up to four years above grade level followed by vague and confusing questions,” said Jessica McNair, Oneida County public school parent, Central NY Opt Out co-founder, and educator.

Fred Smith, testing specialist, NYC public schools retired administrative analyst, and Change the Stakes member said, “Instead of transparency and disclosure of complete and timely test data that would open the quality of the ELA and math exams to independent review, Tisch has ruled over an unaccountable testing program that flies at near-zero visibility–in a fog of flawed field testing procedures, age-inappropriate poorly written items, the covert removal of test questions after they have been scored, arbitrarily drawn cut off scores, and the misapplication of the results to reach unsupportable conclusions about students, teachers, and schools.”

“As seen with the budget debacle earlier this month, New Yorkers know when the ‘Albany Fix’ is in,” Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County public school parent and NYSAPE founding member. Mihelbergel went on to say, “We know that the opt out movement will ultimately invalidate the data and render these test scores useless. When some schools have opt outs as high as 70%, we know that any claims that opt out is “random” and that only a small sampling of test scores will yield usable data is illogical.”

To ensure clarity for all, NYSAPE calls for the following from the NYS Legislature & Board of Regents and will release a more comprehensive list in the near future:

1. A dramatic reduction of testing in grades 3rd – 8th, along with reasserting New York State’s authority to determine the education of its children by calling on the US Congress to reduce testing requirements and return to grade span testing. As former President Bill Clinton said we don’t need annual testing, “I think doing one [test] in elementary school, one in the end of middle school and one before the end of high school is quite enough if you do it right.”

2. Chancellor Tisch must immediately step down.

3. An independent review of the NYS career and college ready standards to ensure that standards are research based and appropriate. Establish a taskforce including parents, educators, and stakeholders to study the Common Core Learning Standards and make recommendations to adjust and adopt NYS standards.

4. Adhere to a public and transparent process for selecting a new NYS Commissioner of Education.

5. Fix the Cuomo budget legislation debacle by passing legislation that decouples student test scores and restores local board of education control over teacher evaluations.

6. Pass legislation that REQUIRES parental consent to share ANY identifiable student data beyond school district administrators.

We want to restore our classrooms with a well-rounded education and drive testing compliance factory reforms out of our classrooms forever.