Friday, February 27, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 27, 2015More information contact:
Jessica McNair 315-368-7550
Jamie McNair 315-368-5935
Opt Out CNY –
Parents of middle school students at Adirondack Central School recently received an announcement regarding a ‘Student Incentive Plan’ for the upcoming NYS ELA and Math exams.  According to the Incentive Plan students will be entered into drawings to win prizes for participation, improvement and performance on this year’s exams despite the well known fact that parents and students have a right to refuse to participate in the exams with no consequence to the student, teacher, or school.
Charlotte Witzigman, a West Leyden resident and parent of a 6th grader who received a copy of the incentive plan, is infuriated.  “I am beyond upset that school leaders, whose job it is to support and respect all students, are bribing 11 and 12 year olds to participate in a flawed exam that offers no meaningful data to the student or the teacher.  This type of coercion is unacceptable and calls to question the ethics of the leaders of our school.”
Parent advocate and co-founder of Opt Out CNY Jamie McNair states, “When I first saw the plan, I thought it was a joke.  Upon learning from parents in the Adirondack School District that this not only came home with their children but was distributed by the school principal, I was appalled.  In a time when communities across the state are rallying together to oppose Governor Cuomo’s flawed test and punish reform agenda, this sort of action just defies common sense and demonstrates an abuse of leadership.”
“My son was told he’d receive free breakfast and a candy bar if he participates in the test.  It can’t be any more clear that this is bribery,” said Coral Grenier, West Leyden resident and parent of a student at Adirondack Central Schools.  “Our public schools are places of inclusion, support and safety.  To have a school administrator create an environment that fosters competition for prizes around the controversial New York State Common Core Aligned high stakes tests is reprehensible and irresponsible.” added Grenier.
Pamela Howe, New Hartford resident and member of Opt Out CNY adds,  “I question if this practice is even legal.  Distributing prizes to those who participate and improve scores singles out those children who don’t participate or don’t improve scores.  School leaders have chosen to create a hostile school environment in which children don’t feel accepted or respected.”
“While this situation is certainly egregious, fortunately it is rare.  A good majority of schools in our region and across the state create a student-centered learning environment that emphasize determination and hard work while respecting the varied viewpoints of students, parents and the community,” noted McNair.
Last year an estimated 60,000 New York State students refused to participate in grade 3-8 Common Core Math and ELA tests and it’s expected that over 250,000 will refuse this spring.  Schools acting in the best interest of children and the community provide students who refuse tests the opportunity to read quietly or work in an alternate location.

Originally press release can be found here

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