LOCAL PARENTS HOST INFORMATIONAL FORUMS TO INFORM PARENTS ABOUT RIGHT TO REFUSE NYS TESTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2015
Parents in local communities are hosting multiple events this week to raise awareness about parents’ rights to refuse the New York State grades 3 – 8 English Language Arts and Mathematics exams. The forums, which were organized and being run by area parents, are just seven out of more than two dozen that have been held recently. They are scheduled as follows:
– Tuesday April 7 @ 6:00 – 7:30 pm Whitesboro Test Refusal Information Session, Whitestown Recreation Center, 1 Championship Dr, Whitesboro, NY 13492
– Tuesday April 7 @ 6:00 – 7:30 pm Holland Patent Test Refusal Information Session, Stittville Firehouse, 9069 Main St, Stittville, NY
– Tuesday April 7 @ 6:00 – 7:30 pm Oneida Test Refusal Information Session, Kallet Civic Center, Main Street, Oneida, NY
– Tuesday April 7 @ 6:00 – 7:30 pm Central Square Test Refusal Information Session, West Monroe Town Hall 46 County Route 11, West Monroe, New York 13167
–Wednesday April 8 @ 6:30 – 7:30 pm Waterville Test Refusal Information Session, Waterville Public Library 206 White St, Waterville, New York 13480
-Thursday April 9 @ 6:30 – 8:00 pm Central Valley Test Refusal Information Session, US Marine Corps Recruiting, 2nd Street, Ilion, NY
Jessica McNair, parent of two school aged children and co-founder of Opt Out CNY shared this, “With the passage of the most sweeping and destructive education budget in history, parents are rightly concerned about their children’s future and interest in the test refusal movement has only grown. The vast majority of our elected officials chose to support a law that will steal local control, generate systemic instability in our schools, limit options available to students and force public schools to focus almost exclusively on flawed, high stakes, standardized tests. Parents will respond by refusing to participate in this oppressive system”
Parents deserve to know the facts about these tests, and what their rights are,” said Kirstin Vivacqua, parent of three, and presenter at the Central Valley forum. “The information session on Thursday in Ilion is just one of dozens of such events that have popped up in Central New York in the last month, and I think that speaks to the concern that parents have over what is happening to our schools,” added Vivacqua.
“Parents are often concerned that their refusal will result in a loss of funding to their school, harm the teacher’s evaluation, or prevent their child from participating in certain academic programs. Once we were armed with the facts that these fears are unfounded, it was easy for us to decide to refuse the tests,” added Dave Lupia, parent of three children who attend Harts Hill Elementary School and organizer of the Whitestown forum. “To me, my refusal is a vote of confidence in my children’s teachers and school, and a concrete way for me to express my concern about the laws recently enacted by our legislators.”
Across the region, a majority of school districts will accommodate students not participating in tests by (allowing) children to read quietly during the testing session or work in an alternate location. “Such accommodations are totally permissible by the New York State Education Department and are the appropriate, child-centered policy that should be put in place,” said McNair. “Unfortunately, a handful of local schools, including Oriskany Central School District, continue to threaten students and parents by indicating that they will be required to sit and do nothing during the entire length of testing, over an hour each day during the course of six days. Considering it is a parent’s right to oversee his child’s education, and that right has constitutional dimensions recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States for nearly 100 years, it is alarming that schools would not only ignore this right, but choose to punish children in an attempt to threaten parents for exercising this right. Such bullying is shameful.”
Parents who are unable to attend these forums can still get their questions answered and find resources to help them with the refusal process. There is a growing community of more than 3,100 parents on social media at Opt Out CNY on Facebook, and sample refusal letters along with other information can be found at optoutcny.wordpress.com.