BROOKLYN (PIX11) – “It was about her initially,” said parent Janine Sopp. “But when I saw the direction of education headed, I said ‘You know what, I’ve got to do this for my kid, but for all children in New York City and New York state.'”
Sopp was the first parent at the Brooklyn New School to opt her child out of common core testing more than three years ago. Tuesday more than 240 of the 300 students at the school joined Sopp’s daughter by choosing not to take the standardized English Language Arts test.
“I pulled the plug and it started a windfall.”
The Opt out movement has spread far beyond the walls at the Brooklyn New School. So, while students were reading rather than sitting for the first day of the three day exam, Parents from schools across the borough gathered to express their outrage.
“What makes anyone believe that this test, because it’s called common core, makes common sense?” said Parent Latoshia Wheeler.
Opponents of the testing say the tests are just too long: kids spend up to 90 minutes a day on the exam for three straight days. Common core testing is expensive. Estimates suggest states spend anywhere from $800-million to $10-billion on the program each year. So rather than teaching a well-rounded curriculum, opponents of common core say educators are forced to teach to the test.
“The current Ed reform overemphasis on high-stakes testing takes all those ways of succeeding and narrows them down to about this big,” said City Councilman Brad Lander.
And it’s not just the students. Parents say the fact that teacher evaluations are weighted so heavily on these exams just doesn’t make sense.
“What does that mean about the commitment of our school system to really providing excellent teaching?” said parent Jessica Blatt.
Ultimately, these parents say they want other parents to know they have the right to opt out of high stakes testing, whether or not they have support from their child’s school.
Knowing that, they only expect the number of students opting out to grow before the Math exam which starts April 30th.