New York State tests are hurting our children. According to reports from superintendents of New York State school districts, stress while taking the "Common Core" state exams has caused children to shake, cry, and vomit. Over the past few months, tens of thousands of parents and teachers took to the streets in protest and their angry voices filled forums across the state, demanding to be heard about the effects that Common Core high stakes testing is having on their children. Governor Cuomo refused to listen. In fact, in his quest to “break the monopoly” of public education, Cuomo’s education “reforms” actually doubled down on testing by weighting test results more heavily in teacher evaluations. This will surely force even more test preparation as teachers fight to keep the careers they worked hard to establish. As creative and authentic types of instruction are lost to testing, our children lose their self-confidence and their zest for learning.
The tests themselves are designed for failure, calibrated to an SAT score of 1630, with cut scores that are adjusted after the tests are scored to make sure that 70% of NY children fail. Cuomo, at the behest of hedge fund pro-charter donors, uses these faulty statistics to declare public school failures, ultimately usurping local control of our schools. Teachers lose their jobs. Schools are closed. Impoverished communities are hurt the most. The ultimate goal of these “reforms” is the replacement of our public schools with for-profit charter schools. Our children are the pawns in this political game. It is time to fight back.
Last year, 60,000 parents across New York State “refused” their children out of testing. This year, tens of thousands across the state have expressed their concern about the increasing emphasis on tests that are ruining the education of their children, but many parents do not know they have the right to refuse testing. The Refuse the Test Robocall campaign aims to raise enough money to pay for a call to New York State households, advising them of their parental right to “refuse the tests” for their children. Supreme Court cases have upheld this right that is based on the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, stating in the case of Meyer v. Nebraska that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.”
The goal of this campaign is to raise $30,000 by April 10th, and create a celebrity recording for a robocall that will go to selected New York State households on April 12th. Testing for the NYS ELA is from April 14-16, and math testing is held from April 22-24. Parents can send in refusal notices right up to the day of the test.
Test refusals will send a powerful political message to New York State, as well as to our federal government, that parents will no longer allow their children to be used as a profit market for testing corporations, politicians, and government bureaucracies. To donate, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/RefusetheTestsRobocall/fundraiser/. For more information on refusing the tests, go to www.nysape.org.