Area Parents Convene to Support Public Schools – Oppose Cuomo, Boost Opt-Out

(Photo: Derek Scarlino/Love and Rage)

by Opt-Out CNY/Press Releases

On Thursday, February 4, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm a grassroots coalition of parents, teachers and community members will attend an informational forum  at the Whitestown Recreation Center.  At the forum organized by Opt Out CNY, those in attendance will learn about the negative impacts of high stakes testing and the proven failure of Governor Cuomo’s most recent education reforms.  Parents will learn how to best advocate within their local school district to ensure that the rights of students and parents to refuse inappropriate testing are respected and supported.

“Last April, Governor Cuomo, along with members of the New York State Senate and Assembly, passed the most destructive package of education reforms in the country.  They doubled down on high stakes testing, tying student test scores to teacher evaluations and school closures”, said Jamie McNair, New Hartford resident, parent of two school aged children, and cofounder of Opt Out CNY.  “Our children are still going to school every day and living out the consequences of a test and punish agenda.  No longer will we allow our children’s potential to be sacrificed for personal gain and political expediency” added McNair.

While the unprecedented numbers of students who refused the 2015 State tests clearly influenced Governor Cuomo’s rhetoric, parents and teachers see though his words.  “Nothing of substance has changed for our schools, our teachers or our children.” said Robert Bentley, Clinton resident and parent of three.  “Commissioner Elia and Governor Cuomo would have you think that this recent call for a four year moratorium on the use of common core test scores has solved all of our schools’ problems.  The truth is that our students are still going to be prepped for the state tests, but additionally students are also going to be required to take another ‘local’ test for the simple purpose of ‘teacher evaluation’.  The state’s solution to a failed test based evaluation system, is more tests; not only is that illogical, it’s just plain dishonest. ” added Bentley.

“Despite the public outcry of parents and teachers, most legislators voted with Governor Cuomo. Because of that disastrous vote, our kids are living out the nightmarish consequences of certain legislators’ heavy hearts. Until the law is changed, local control is restored and students are supported instead of exploited, I expect that parents will continue to protect their kids from the horrible state tests that assess nothing useful, and Opt Out numbers will continue to go up” shared  Lesa Wilbert, President of the Adirondack Teachers Association.

“The true failure in public education lies with the continued focus on developmentally inappropriate, poorly constructed, high stakes tests and the use of test scores to falsely paint students, teacher and schools as failing.  If we allow our children to be subject to the status quo system of test and punish, what lesson are we teaching?  Refusing to allow our children to participate in these tests aligns our voices with our actions.” said Jessica McNair, parent, public school teacher, co-founder of Opt Out CNY.  McNair, who also served as a Technical Advisor to Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force and is currently seeking a seat on the New York State Board of Regents added, “Almost a quarter of a million students sat out last year’s exams.  Even with that historic demonstration of the will of the public, nothing has changed.  Parents know what is best for their children and I am confident that we will see that reflected as opt out continues to grow with this year’s tests.”

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