Behind the Headline: Teachers Are Warned About Criticizing New York State Tests

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Teachers Are Warned About Criticizing New York State Tests
The New York Times | 3/24/2016

Behind the Headline
Public Supports Testing, Opposes Opt-Out, Opposes Federal Intervention
Education Next | 7/28/2015

ednext-ototn-march16-nyt-optoutnycIn New York City, where state testing begins next week, the Department of Education is warning teachers and principals not to encourage parents to opt their students out of state tests.

However, last week, the newly elected chancellor of the state Board of Regents, Betty Rosa, stated that if she had children of testing age, she would have them sit out of the state tests.

As Kate Taylor notes in the New York Times,

The state’s position appears to be in flux. The previous Regents chancellor, Merryl H. Tisch, was a strong proponent of the tests. Last year, while Dr. Tisch was still in office, the education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, who reports to the Regents, said that it was “unethical” for educators to encourage or support test refusal and that it was districts’ responsibility to make sure that as many students as possible took the exams this spring. But the election of Dr. Rosa, who was endorsed by leaders of the opt-out movement, has muddied the issue.

Earlier this month, Caroline Bermudez took a look at “Who’s Really Opting Out Anyway?” for the 74. She found that, in states with the largest number of students opting out of state tests, the students opting out were mostly white and affluent, and that a large percentage of students opting out were 11th graders who were also taking college prep and AP exams in the spring.

Matt Chingos analyzed opt-out data from New York earlier in “Who Opts Out of State Tests?

The most recent Education Next survey of public opinion found little public support for the “opt out” point of view. Only 25% of the public support the idea while 59% oppose it, with the remainder taking a neutral position.

— Education Next

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