BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A group of Erie County parents plant to boycott New York State testing for the fourth year. Parents say they’re still angry over the high-stakes nature of the exams and the common core standards they are based on.
But now, Erie County leaders in education are launching a campaign to encourage parents to have their children take the standardized test.
Bryon McIntyre, a parent in the Buffalo Public School District said, “I’m a parent with a child sitting in the penitentiary because the education system failed him. I say, “yes to the test,” because you’re going to be tested all your life. You’re going to be stressed all your life, especially if you don’t have the education.”
Each year, the boycott against state testing grows, parents write letters to school principals if they don’t want their kids to participate.
But, these leaders say if students in buffalo don’t “opt-in” there is no way to measure the achievement gap.
L. Nathan Hare, with the Community Action Organization said, “We want children to reach a certain level of academic proficiency that they’re going to be able to take a place in the economy of this country.”
Brenda McDuffie is President of the Buffalo Urban League. She said, “We will not know how our children are performing unless we know where they’re at.”
They say this test is the “apples to apples approach” to compare students from all backgrounds. McIntyre said, “When you look at the opt-out you’ll find that it is white suburbanites that are opting out. Whose reality is totally different from an inner city minority child.”
They’re hoping changes to the tests in the past two years will encourage more parents to have their students participate.
Stephen Sigmund, Executive Director of High Achievement New York said, “The tests have gotten better. The state did a lot of work to shorten the tests, had each of the questions reviewed by 22 teachers to take the time limits off. We’re starting to see results, the proficiency levels have gone up.”
The Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization said, “The Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization (BPTO) does not take a formal position on opting out. As an
organization, we respect a parent’s right to make an informed choice on whether their children take state assessments or not and that this decision be made freely without judgment, imposition, and repercussion. Opting out of state assessments is a tactic grown out of opposition to the test and punish methods
of decision-makers in Albany. Parents should know that state assessments are no longer used for admission to any criterion-based school. In partnership with other stakeholders, we will continue to work toward advancing the New Education Bargain with Students and Families and providing what our students deserve.”