|Students who opted out of testing sit in the auditorium of the William S. Covert Elementary School in South Hempstead, N.Y., on April 14, 2015. PHOTO: ANDREW HINDERAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
The number of students who opted out of state tests in Long Island rose to more than 97,500 this week, according to tallies by test-refusal advocates-or about half of the students in grades three through eight.
Long Island Opt Out, which has promoted the movement, said Friday it had volunteers cull numbers from officials and teachers in 124 districts this week. The group lacked data for six districts.
The group said the boycott grew from last spring, when it said 82,492 Long Island students opted out of at least one of the three days of English language arts exams. Next week will have three days of math tests.
The persistent strength of the protest comes even after state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia traveled the state encouraging parents to have children take the federally mandated tests. She said they were shorter than last year, untimed to alleviate stress, and wouldn't factor into teachers' formal ratings due to New York's four-year moratorium on using state exams that way.
But Jeanette Deutermann, a Bellmore mother of two and leader of Long Island Opt Out, said parents wanted more fundamental change inside classrooms. She said test preparation for reading and math still dominated class time and squeezed important subjects like social studies, science, art and music.
"Our goal is really to change this whole system," she said.
Read the rest here.
Also check out this article by Alan Singer about the opt outs.