Long Island hasn’t seen anything like it.
This April thousands of parents–joined online through social media–protested testing aligned with Common Core standards by having their children opt out.
In the highly regarded Rockville Centre district, the Opt Out movement encouraged more than 30 percent of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders to sit out English language exams.
Newsday estimated that 9,500 students had opted out throughout Long Island. Last week, State Education Commissioner John King lamented their non-participation, agreeing that they made their voices heard.
Rockville Centre Superintendent Bill Johnson sympathized with those who didn’t take the tests, which he criticized as poorly constructed.
“The fault lines in this entire process run so deep,” he said, “that it’s uninterpretable, so troublesome, that it’s time to just put it on a shelf somewhere and say look, we made a mistake. Time to start over.”
Earlier, Suffolk school superintendents–some 60 strong–wrote Governor Cuomo, urging he put off this month’s Common Core testing for another year.
While Cuomo sympathized with parents’ concerns that the children were unprepared, he sensibly insisted that this Common Core testing not count against students for promotion. The Legislature agreed.
While we continue to value the state’s Common Core reforms, King blundered by rolling out testing before a new curriculum and effectively-trained teachers were fully in place. King now concedes that the Common Core rollout was “imperfect.”
It would be sad if the Opt Out protest evolved into a larger political movement. But with opposition from teachers, parents and administrators, we wouldn’t be surprised if it does.