“Unprecedented” numbers opt out of state tests–what’s next?

Today students in New York State begin three days of state-mandated tests in English language arts. But thousands of families across the state, from Syracuse and Buffalo to the Hudson Valley, Long Island to New York City, will sit out the tests, citing concerns with their relevance and the sense that the curriculum has been taken over by preparation.

“It shifts the entire focus of the classroom,” says Jeannette Deutermann, the organizer behind Long Island Opt Out, a Facebook group with almost 16,000 members. “They seem way too young to have that much testing and that much focus on the tests.”

The spring of 2014 has seen a wave of grassroots activism against both standardized tests and the Common Core that Bob Schaeffer, a longtime activist with the group Fairtest, calls “unprecedented.” The numbers are small, but they’re found around the country. Chicago, site of the 2012 teachers’ strike, and Colorado have seen the most action so far, although opt-out protests have been reported in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennslyvania, New Jersey, and Alabama among other states.

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SOETalk is an outlet for news, information, commentary and debate on the world of education with a focus on what affects students, prospective students and alumni of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education.
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