ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York parents have the option to opt their child out of the Common Core tests, but many parents said their schools say they can’t refuse the tests.
Capital Region schools said parents must write a letter to the school’s principal explaining why they want to refuse the tests. Parents should then receive a confirmation letter in the mail.
Some schools said the state education department said parents cannot opt out because the tests are required by the federal government. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco said schools are using semantics to distort the truth.
“They should be providing parents with the truths and the facts and their rights,” he said. “And their rights are yes, they can opt out of something they haven’t opted into. They can refuse something for their kids they’ve never opted into.”
Schools said if they have less than 95 percent participation on the tests, it will affect their standing on the failing schools list. That would not make adequate yearly progress, or AYP.
“If they don’t make AYP for several years, then they start to get identified as a school in need of improvement and they would need to have some sort of corrective action plan,” NYSED Senior Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said.
But the state education department said that’s over the course of several years, and it wouldn’t affect state aid but it could affect the school’s chances for grant money. The state education department also said students are expected to take the tests.
“There’s no provision that allows you to refuse to take the tests,” Wagner said.
Wagner, however, didn’t deny there’s nothing in place forbidding parents to refuse.
“Yeah, bottom line, semantics aside, I really believe that parents, of course, want the best for their students, and the only way we can know if our students are making progress is if we have a meaningful measure,” he said.
Tedisco and other state lawmakers are taking it a step further to help decrease confusion. They will be launching a statewide petition website on Wednesday at refusecommoncore.com.
“What it’s going to affect is the test and the testing process,” Tedisco said. “They’re going to go back to the drawing board to do it right.”