Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Opt-Out Wildfire Spreads: Ordinary NYS Parents & Students Speak Truth to Cuomo & Company's Lies

*Test opt-outs from Western New York to Suffolk County in Long Island
*Disproportionately low opt-out numbers in New York City --legacy of Bloomberg & Mulgrew

The people are speaking. They know education. They know worth of education, of children, of what is inappropriate testing. They realize spirit deadening high-stakes testing. They realize the inappropriateness of the Common Core. They recognize that the Common Core was imposed on the people without the people asking for it, without public hearings on the Common Core. They realize that the Common Core and its attendant test-prep regimen is deadening the spirit and joy of a generation of school children. THEY ARE SAYING "NO MORE!"

They remember when tests were cheaply produced, mainly in-house New York State affairs. They see the wholesale selling of the people's state schools to Pearson and Governor Cuomo's friends.

There was no public outcry for the selling of schools and children for corporations' gain. Yet, this is the incessant demand of Cuomo, State Education Department Chancellor Merryl Tisch (who has lied with claims that opting out will jeopardize millions in federal money), and those quisling superintendents that blindly follow the demand for the invalid tests. (Of course, kudos to Joseph Rella, a superintendent of strong conscience.)

Parents are seeing that their children are being exploited in being used as political footballs in a shallow battle against teachers. Parents see through the selling out of the schools to privateers. Parents are refusing to allow their children to be pawns in this education war.

Teachers tip their hat to parents, as in the opt-out movement parents are showing solidarity with teacher: they refusing to allow their children to be fodder against teachers.

So, we see test-opt outs across the state: Refusal rates from the 30s to 70s percent.
The Buffalo News reports: "Two thousand kids in West Seneca schools opt out," as students in the Buffalo Niagara district opt out.

The News' recent article reported:
The number of students refusing to participate is expected to grow significantly over the 60,000 statewide who refused to take the tests last year.

The rate reached 70 percent Tuesday in the West Seneca School District, where 2,074 of 2,976 eligible students refused testing. Rates at individual schools ranged from 50 percent at Northwood Elementary School to 83 percent at Allendale Elementary.

In lower Hudson Valley districts opt-out rates were high: "MAP: School districts seeing high opt-out rates"
In Nassau and Suffolk county, opt-outs were also high, with one town reaching an 82 percent opt-out rate. Headlines from the last 24 hours reverberate with resistance to the high-stakes tests.

Parents opt kids out of Common Core test --News 12 Long Island

Common Core Opponents Predict Record-Breaking Numbers Of Students Opting Out --Long Island Press

Some LI school districts showing record numbers of test opt-outs --Newsday

Long Island: This Will Be the Biggest Opt Out Ever --Diane Ravitch blog

Alas, with mayoral control, popular speech, popular expression by parents in an elected board of education, has been deligitimized in New York City.

Shamefully, the New York City media, the public radio station WNYC included, continually has pressed for mayoral control and its renewal. In this era, there is a paucity of parent activism and involvement. So, there has been proportionately very low resistance in New York City. The low level of resistance also has its roots in the repression of teachers over the past twelve years, and in the collaboration of the union, the United Federation of Teachers, whose leader, Michael Mulgrew, has supported the Common Core, and has opposed the opt-out movement. The UFT has defeated opt-out resolutions proposed by the Movement of Rank and File Educators caucus (MORE). Most recently, Monday, in the Mulgrew-dominated Executive Board, Unity aligned UFT leaders dug in their heels against the opt-out movement.

Of course, never forget that NYC opt-out began with two heroic teachers in a Brooklyn high school.

And, of course, "The revolution won't be televised": note that you cannot find this news covered in the New York Times. I will bet my paycheck that if WNYC runs a story they WILL put Merryl Tisch in the driver's seat and they will NOT interview anyone from Change the Stakes.