Thousands of New York Students Opt Out of Common Core Tests

Mon, 27/04/2015

In New York, over 200,000 parents of students in grades 3-8 are expected to opt out of the Common Core standardized tests amid outrage over above-grade reading passages and other tasks that are proving to be too much for young students. The questions are so above-level and ambiguous, in fact, that one principal from a well-regarded elementary school couldn't answer over 25 percent of them.

Although there is a "gag order" in effect that is supposed to keep teachers and administrators from discussing the contents of the tests, angry teachers and parents are speaking out anonymously and on blogs about the ridiculous expectations put on the students. For example, one passage on a third grade test comes from a book with a 5.9 grade level and a 9-12th grade interest level.

As more and more teachers and parents speak out, over 40 percent of all Long Island students have opted out of the English Language Arts exam, with some districts reaching over 70 percent. Opt-outs for the math exam are expected to be even higher. With the high number of test refusals growing across the state, it is very unlikely New York will meet the federal requirement minimum of 95 percent for testing.

So what happens when huge numbers of students in one state rebel against the Common Core standards? Apparently, not much. Districts can't lose funding unless it can be proven that they willfully promoted opt outs or didn't administer the tests at all, neither of which New York did. Additionally, there aren't any guidelines the federal goverment is required to follow, such as withholding funds, when a state doesn't meet the minimum requirements for testing.

What are your thoughts on the Common Core standards and the new standardized testing requirements? Do you share the outrage voiced by the parents in New York, or do you think the standards are essential to help students stay on par with other students around the world? Would you opt your child out of taking the test?

If you have a hard time understanding the Common Core standards, read our parent's guide to understanding your child's schoolwork.