Watch CBS News

Fallout From Common Core Testing Opt-Outs Unclear

MAHOPAC, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- As Common Core standardized testing begins in New York this week, some school superintendents are warning that if participation falls below 95 percent, federal aid could be lost and state oversight could be increased.

Mahopac Superintendent of Schools Brian Monahan isn't so sure.

"We are not clear on exactly what the fallout from this might be," Monahan told WCBS 880's Sean Adams. "But again, we're certainly not going to force students to do something against their parents' wishes."

Fallout From Common Core Testing Opt-Outs Unclear

Monahan said he's walking a fine line between following the state's rules and respecting the concerns of parents. He figures about one-third of elementary school students and half of middle school students will opt out of testing.

Some parents complain the tests are too grueling and causing anxiety. The New York State United Teachers union has called for a boycott over concerns that test scores will be linked to teacher evaluations.

On Long Island, groups are staging demonstrations to "protest the test" and urging parents to have their children opt out.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, moms are mobilizing for a fight, armed with markers, paint and passion.

"We don't refuse the tests because they are hard, we refuse them because they are wrong," said Commack parent Pam Verity.

"They're not OK to be subjecting the kids to a curriculum that is not yet to be proven," said Dawn Schicaldi, of Smithtown.

"Common Core tests are developmentally inappropriate for our children," said Commack parent Jennifer Carpenter.

Other parents are handing out refusal letters and childrens' books for test time.

Meanwhile, state education officials argue the tests are needed to gauge how students are adapting to the Common Core curriculum.

It's become a test of wills. Parents of 60,000 New York students opted out of federally-mandated testing last year to send a message, Gusoff reported.

"The children have the majority of the time that should be spent on really creative and holistic instruction being spent on test prep because each teacher is being judged based on these tests," said parent Todd Lemieux, of Lindenhurst.

But more than 1 million took the test, Gusoff reported.

"Let them take the test. Leave them alone, don't aggravate them," said one parent.

"I felt, you know, they'll have standardized testing their whole life," said another.

Parents on the fence worry about threatened funding cuts.

The Department of Education told CBS2 sanctions are decided on a case by case basis, adding that they've yet to impose sanctions so far.

"(You don't think they will take away funding?) No, absolutely not. It will be political suicide if anyone tried," said Tory Vine, of Lindenhurst.

A spokesperson with the New York State Department of Education cautioned parents who opt out "We lose the chance -- at both the state and the local level -- to learn about the progress of our students and their schools. That loss is immediate and it is permanent."

And there are other ways to fight. Rep. Lee Zeldin's new bill rolls back the number of mandated tests, Gusoff reported.

"Testing the student is one thing, but what we are seeing is it's too much, and our kids aren't guinea pigs," the lawmaker said.

Zeldin has twin third-graders and must also decide to opt in or out, Gusoff reported.

The English Arts assessments are given to students in grades three through eight Tuesday. Math will begin next week.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.