Tuesday, May 5, 2015

By:  Jeanette Deutermann, NY Parent, Founder of Long Island Opt Out, member of NYSAPE

This blog post was written by Jeanette Deutermann as a Facebook post.  She is the founder of Long Island Opt Out  and a member of NYSAPE.  Both of these groups, along with many other groups, spearheaded the largest test refusal movement in the nation (190,000 ELA and 170,000 Math).  This post by Jeanette was in response to an article published in the Capitol.  This article highlights the "policy changes" that the state education committee is looking to make - http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567311/education-chairs-propose-significant-policy-changes

The legislators continue to suggest "changes" to pacify us. They announce proposals, summits, and agreements. Yet not once have parent organizations and leaders been asked what it is we are demanding, and what it would take take for us to "opt IN". It is no wonder why all of their proposals fall short. NYSAPE has even spelled out what it would take to fix this broken system in our latest press release. We have made it clear we will not participate in this system until REAL changes are made. They will continue with their "kick the can down the road" strategy, claiming they "get it", while voting "yes" and ensuring everything remains the same or worse in our classrooms and for our children. There is no talk in NY of reducing testing hours and days. No talk of eliminating testing tied to APPR. No talk of eliminating this current test-centered CC curriculum. No talk of ensuring that privacy laws keep our children's data safe. No talk of full transparency for the testing, testing companies, or the selection of our next Commissioner. They think that rhetoric will confuse us and make us think that real solutions are at hand. That we are not savvy enough to understand the difference between publicity stunts and authentic change. That we never really did know why we were fighting in the first place.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news Mr. and Ms. NY Lawmaker, but the law of opting out trumps any law or policy you have passed that will hurt our children. The act of refusing trumps laws you passed in April to remove the remaining local control from our schools. Parents have found a way to take things into our own hands, and do your jobs for you. Our law of refusal gives the teachers and their students back their classrooms. It puts the education of our children back in the hands of educators. It eliminates test prep, spares our children from endless hours of testing on questions that are ambiguous and years above grade level. It ends the unfair punishment of teachers through test scores, returns science and social studies, art and music to the classroom, and students get back months of classroom learning that you have aided in stripping away. This coming school year, letters will be in BEFORE THE YEAR EVEN BEGINS. From the very first day of school next year, teachers will know that testing will not infiltrate their classroom, and will not determine their lessons or their fate. It will be as if the assessments did not even exist in many classrooms around our state. That's what WE did; 200,000 parents.
You need the tests. For every policy, law, reform, and agenda, you need those test scores. We won't give them to you. If you want to finally talk, REALLY talk, and more importantly, listen, you know where you can find us. We'll be in our school office handing in our letters for next year.

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