Thousands Boycott Common Core Testing In New York

Thousands Boycott Common Core Testing In New York

Tuesday marked the start of state standardized testing in New York, and opt-out figures have been coming in as huge numbers of parents saying “no more” to standardized testing.

These tests are part of the Common Core, nationwide public school standards that some parents and teachers have attacked for putting too much of the focus on test-taking instead of learning.

Thousands of families across New York are boycotting the mandated English Language Arts tests that started Tuesday and the math exams that will start next Wednesday. While no official state-wide opt-out numbers are yet available, figures are starting to emerge at certain schools and districts.

Tests are administered to 1.1 million students statewide in grades 3 to 8, according to NY Daily News. It’s looking like at least 300,000 students across the state (nearly 30%) are opting out this year, which will far exceed the 60,000 students who refused to take the test last year.

This “opt-out” revolt has been quietly building for years, but it reached historic levels this time. The biggest New York state opt-out numbers look to be centered in the upstate school districts throughout Long Island, Westchester, and Buffalo, where Common Core criticism runs particularly deep. The boycott percentages in some schools in New York City are nearing 40%.

At the Patchogue-Medford School District in Suffolk County, 65% of 3,400 students in grades three to eight abstained from the test, District Superintendent Michael Hynes told the Daily News.

An anti-Common Core Facebook group called “Long Island Opt Out” has a spreadsheet containing district opt-out numbers. It has calculated many districts at over 50%, with the highest coming in at 82%. 

“Every year, all these hours of testing, it’s too much,” said Michelle Kupper, parent of a third-grader at Public School 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

“We disagree with how the test scores are being used to sort and to punish,” Kupper said.

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