Press-Republican

Local News

March 30, 2014

Parents, educators talk test refusal

PLATTSBURGH — Local parents are concerned that the movement to refuse the state’s third- through eighth-grade assessments may result in some students starting but not completing the exams. 

“We are anticipating something that has happened in previous years: some children get to school, realize that a good number of kids are not doing the tests, and then, they ask their parents to get them out of the testing,” Margarita Garcia-Notario of the North Country Alliance for Public Education told the Press-Republican in an email. 

“Some parents would go along with this, but it is too late to achieve the purpose of this civil disobedience movement.”

‘TO PROTECT SCHOOLS’

The English language arts assessment is set to be administered over a three-day period beginning Tuesday, while the math exam is scheduled for April 30 through May 2. 

A number of parents locally and across the state have vowed not to allow their children to take the required tests, which many say are excessive and unfair to kids.

They also believe the exams are not equitable to teachers, as well, as their performance evaluations are based, in part, on students’ scores. 

The alliance has promoted the refusal movement and encouraged parents to educate themselves on the implications of the exams and the state-mandated Common Core Curriculum on which they are based. 

“This is a movement that is aimed at saving our public schools and protecting them,” Garcia-Notario said in a separate interview. 

The Plattsburgh parent also serves as president of Stafford Middle School’s Family School Organization and co-president of Plattsburgh High School’s Community School Organization. 

It is important, she noted, that parents who wish to refuse the exams on behalf of their children do so before the tests are administered. 

‘RIGHT TO REFUSE’

According to Eric Mihelbergel, the co-founder of New York State Allies for Public Education and a panelist at a recent local forum on state testing, students who don’t take the exams do not receive a zero, but rather, it’s as if the tests never existed for them. 

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