Archives for category: Testing

Contact your member of the Néw York Board of Regents and urge them not to make field testing of Oearson tests mandatory.


2016* Tisch, Merryl H.; B.A., M.A., Ed.D.
Chancellor; At Large
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 474-5889 Email:

2016* Bottar, Anthony S.; B.A., J.D.
Vice Chancellor; Judicial District V — Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego
120 Madison Street, Suite 1600, AXA Tower II, Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 422-3466 Email:

2015* Bennett, Robert M.; B.A., M.S.
Chancellor Emeritus; Judicial District VIII — Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming
201 Millwood Lane, Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: (518) 474-5889 Email:

2015* Dawson, James C.; A.A, B.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Judicial District IV — Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington
166 U.S. Oval, Plattsburgh, NY 12903
Phone: (518) 324-2401 Email:

Judicial District XI — Queens

2015* Phillips 3rd, Harry; B.A., M.S.F.S.
Judicial District IX — Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester
71 Hawthorne Way, Hartsdale, NY 10530
Phone: (914) 948-2228 Email:

2017* Tallon, Jr., James R. ; B.A., M.A.
Judicial District VI – Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins
United Hospital Fund, 1411 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018
Phone (212) 494-0777 Email:

2015* Tilles, Roger; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District X – Nassau, Suffolk
100 Crossways Park West, Suite 107, Woodbury, N.Y. 11797
Phone (516) 364-2533 Email:

2017* Bendit, Charles R.; B.A.
Judicial District I – New York
111 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1500, New York, N.Y. 10011
Phone (212) 220-9945 Email:

2018* Rosa, Betty A.; B.A., M.S. in Ed., M.S. in Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.
Judicial District XII – Bronx
State Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (718) 664-8052 Email:

2015* Young, Jr., Lester W.; B.S., M.S., Ed.D.
At Large
55 Hanson Place, Suite 400, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
Phone (718) 722-2796 Email:

2019* Cea, Christine D.; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Judicial District XIII – Richmond
NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities
1050 Forest Hill Road, Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone (718) 494-5306 Email:

2019* Norwood, Wade S.; B.A.
At Large
74 Appleton Street, Rochester, NY 14611
Phone (585) 436-2944 Email:

2015* Cashin, Kathleen M.; B.S., M.S., Ed.D.
Judicial District II – Kings
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (518) 474-5889 Email:

2019*Cottrell, James E.; B.S., M.D.
At Large
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 6, Brooklyn, NY 11203-2098
Phone (718) 270-2331 Email:

2017*Brown, T. Andrew; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District VII – Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates
925 Crossroads Building, Two State Street, Rochester, NY 14614
Phone (585) 454-3667 Email:

2019* Finn, Josephine Victoria; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District III – Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (518) 474-5889 Email:

* Year When Present Term Ends


Leaders of the anti-testing movement want to place two large billboards on major highways. informing parents of their right to opt out. They need only $300 more to meet their goal of $3,700.. Can you spare $10?


“Here at revolutionary headquarters, thanks to recent contributions from Colorado Springs, Denver, Loveland, and Washington State, our account at the Weld Schools Credit Union has grown to just shy of $3,000. We have come a long ways from the $700 we started with just after Labor Day. If you have yet to donate to the campaign to inspire parents to exempt their children from the fraud of the testing regimen, now would be a great time to contribute and help us reach our goal of $3,700.


“As you know, we have absolutely zero administrative costs. All contributions go toward our two billboards. (I’ll attach the board from last year, and the proof of this year’s board.)


“Please send your donation to:
The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.
2424 22nd Avenue
Greeley, Colorado 80631


All donations regardless of amount are greatly appreciated. Now more than ever we can see the wheel of history begin to turn toward more humane educational policies. Let’s keep raising our voices. The billboard campaign is one outstanding way to do just that.


In solidarity,


Don Perl
The Coalition for Better Education, Inc.

Department of Hispanic Studies
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, Colorado 80639

This mom in Chicago opted her child out of the state tests. She remembered that when she was in school, there were a few standardized tests, and they were about her growth. Now the tests are pervasive, and constantly comparing her child to other children. She decided to opt out.

“When I look at my kids’ progress reports and academic records, the picture is a bit more murky. Which is surprising. It should be more clear than something that happened 30-20 years ago. And yet, my childrens’ academic records are numerical to the extreme. ISAT score: number. NWEA score: number ranges. STEP level: number. Selective Enrollment score: number. These numbers can be useful. But they are, for the most part, comparative.

“They tell me less about how my kids are doing as they do about how my kids are doing compared to everyone else. Do my children know more than the average American 6th, 4th, and 2nd graders? Yes. But what does this mean for them and their future success? I cannot answer that. And neither, really, as far as I can see, do the test results.

“If test results in 3rd grade are prescriptive of future life success, why not just sort them all out then and be done with it immediately? “O brave new world, That has such people in’t!”

“Yeah, no. That is, fortunately, not yet how it works in this world.

“Instead, (two of) my children will take the PARCC assessment this year. I took the sample assessment for ELA for 3rd grade. It is hard. I remember taking the ACT in 1991 as a high school junior, and I think the types of reading comprehension questions I answered then were easier than the exercises that the PARCC asks 8- and 9-year-olds to complete. If my conclusion, based on this exercise, is that I am dumber than the average 8-year-old, I can only imagine the effect such tests will have on the average 8-year-old. And I’m not the only adult struggling with the PARCC practice exam. And we’re only parents. At least one school board is also struggling with the validity and need for administering the PARCC.”

Will she subject her children to nine hours of PARCC testing?

Let’s hope not.

Bob Schaeffer of FAIRTest writes about the news of the past week in the testing revolt:

Though election results dominated media coverage for several days, the assessment reform movement continued to accelerate across the nation, producing front-page news in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times and other major outlets.

Check out this week’s stories and commentaries below — remember that back issues of these weekly news summaries are archived at and that has many other resources to help your local public education work

States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an “F”

Students Boycott New Colorado State Tests,172932

Coloradans Pack Testing Commission Meeting, Demand Assessment Reform

Connecticut Seeks Fed Waiver to Rate Schools on More Than Test Scores

“Stop the Testing Madness” Movement Sweeps Florida

Florida Student Refuses to Retake Florida Exit Exam, Endorses Alternative Graduation Routes in School Board Testimony

New Georgia State Superintendent Says He Wants to Reduce Testing Volume and Consequences

Hundreds of Georgia Seniors Transfer to Private Schools to Avoid Graduation Test

Fairness of Georgia Teacher Evaluation System Challenged

Illinois Families Push Back Against State Super’s Claim That Parents Can’t Opt Out

Maryland Mother Fights Common Core Testing

Are Massachusetts Students Being Over-Tested?

Massachusetts High-Stakes Exam Issues Must Be Addressed

Missouri Voters Reject Proposal to Base Teacher Evaluation on Student Test Scores

New Jersey Test Review Panel Appointed

New Mexico Media Ignore Teachers in Testing Controversy Coverage

Letter to Parents of New York Third Graders — Model Opt-Out Campaign Resources

New York Supers Call State’s Teacher Rating System a “Travesty of Significant Proportion”

“We Don’t Need No High-Stakes Testing” Ohio Video

Nix Pennsylvania Standardized Exams to Concentrate on Education

Philadelphia City Council to Hold Hearing on Costs of High-Stakes Testing

The Myth of Chinese Super Schools: Diane Ravitch Reviews New Book By Yong Zhao

School Grades and Attendance, Not Test Scores, Predict Academic Success

How Random Events Change “Standardized” Test Scores and Alter Consequences

Better Ways Than VAM to Evaluate Educators

“Stereotype Threat” Can Undermine Academic Performance

Do Test-Based Teacher Evaluation Programs Live Up to Promoters’ Expectations

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468

Large numbers of high school students at Fairview High School in Boulder opted out of state tests.

“More than 5,000 Colorado 12th graders have refused to take the new state-mandated science and social studies tests as student anxiety about over-testing grows.

“Hundreds of high schools students in Boulder staged a mass walk out Thursday and Friday, refusing to take their 12th grade social studies and science tests.

“Fairview High School students say they want to send a clear message that when it comes to testing, enough is enough.”

They also objected to the idea that their teachers and schools might be harmed by their scores.

“Students complain the new tests don’t reflect what they’ve learned in school. Fairview Senior Jennifer Jun says some of the material was taught years earlier, or not at all.

“For them to be testing us on things that we never learned about just doesn’t make sense to us,” Jun says.

“Senior Chaya Wurman says students also worry that part of a teacher and school’s evaluation could eventually be tied to the results of tests.

“Our school is going to be harmed and our teachers are going to be harmed if students don’t do well on this test and obviously they won’t do well on this test because we’ll be tested on material that we have never learned or haven’t learned in years,” she says.

“Thursday morning, nine Fairview High students took the science test out of 538 seniors. Friday, 10 students took the social studies test.”

- See more at:

Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Center in Long Island, New York, tells a shocking story about the intransigence of the New York State PTA to concerns expressed by some of its members. In 2012, parents and educators in the Niagara region of the state prepared a resolution opposing high-stakes testing. They wanted to present it to the state PTA convention, but were told it was too late and their resolution would not be considered. The parents refined their resolution and tried again the next year, but the state leaders of the PTA once again said that their resolution would not be presented to the membership at the state convention.


Meanwhile, the New York State PTA developed its own position paper on the issues. That paper was remarkable in what it did not say–in fact it appeared to be deliberately designed to say nothing at all. There were only vague references to the effects of high-stakes testing, along with a “thumbs up” for the Common Core State Standards and APPR, the state’s controversial teacher evaluation system. The group took heart that their stronger resolution would be approved by those attending the Convention, allowing the State PTA to take a stronger stand. However, once again it was rejected by the resolutions committee with a letter that outlined the reasoning.


The rejection letter was an odd response that talked about Regents exams (the resolution was for 3-8 tests only) and criticized Niagara for not defining “high stakes testing,” It claimed that the position paper that the New York State PTA had recently issued was in conflict with the resolution, because it called for student scores to not be used in teacher evaluations. In fact, the NYS PTA position paper never mentioned the use of Grades 3-8 tests scores in APPR at all. It used the term “multiple measures.”


At the NYSPTA conventions of 2012 and 2013, Principal John McKenna and two parent representatives read statements of concern about testing from the floor. As he told me, “Our statements were met with great applause and support from the membership.”


That support strengthened their resolve to create a resolution that would be acceptable. In 2014, the Niagara Region PTA broke their resolution in half, creating two different resolutions to meet the objections of the state committee. “The ask” in one resolution was a review of APPR and a delay in its use for employment decisions. The second resolution asked for a delay in the use of high-stakes testing, a return to the development of assessments by teachers and a restoration of school funding.


Once again, the resolutions were rejected.


Burris asks whether the New York State PTA represents parents or teachers. The state has been in an uproar over the Common Core and the tests, which now require third graders to be tested for nine hours. Yet parents and teachers cannot get their state organization to hear their voices.


Who does the New York State PTA represent?

Jan Resseger remembers a film made in a school in Ohio about 20 years ago, by Bill Moyers, before testing became our national obsession.


She writes:


In one of the film’s memorable scenes, a stalwart music teacher leads a school orchestra rehearsal—string instruments and classical music, I think—in a rural high school where the music room is directly under the gymnasium and where the basketball team is practicing at the same time. The cameraman stood somehow on the stairway and let the camera catch both activities happening simultaneously. As we hear the music, we watch the ceiling of the band room shake and feel the blows as the athletes’ feet hit the floor and the basketball bounces. Today here in Ohio the facilities would be better, but the school would likely not have a music program. Cuts in state funding in recent years would likely have left the district without elementary school instrumental music, which means that even if the high school tried to have a complete band or orchestra, not enough children would have learned to play the instruments needed to make up a full ensemble. And the pressure to raise test scores in the required language arts and math would likely have reduced the time for music and art.

Tim Slekar, dean of education at Edgewood College in Wisconsin, has been a relentless fighter against high-stakes testing and privatization for years. Here he explains what the recent election meant for children and public schools in Wisconsin, what might be called politely a fist in the face or a hard blow to the gut.


There can be no doubt that re-elected Scott Walker will push for more vouchers, more charters, more high-stakes testing and call himself a “reformer.”


The Assembly speaker said that it was time for a new accountability bill, despite decades of failed accountability demands from Washington, D.C. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting better results is the definition of insanity, isn’t it?


Some local school boards plan to “hunker down” and wait for the next election.


Tim shouts “NO!” as loud as he can:


“Hunkering down” has to be one of the most damaging strategies for anybody or any organization that has the democratic and constitutional responsibility to do what is best for children. Just the idea that the new found power elite are proposing educational “accountability” after 30 years of failed accountability should motivate all that care about children and public schools to regroup, organize, strategize, and then counter attack.


Winning an election does not give permission to anti-intellectual, political hacks to prescribe abusive accountability schemes that only hurt children, teachers, and communities and funnel tax dollars to political donors.


Hunker down? No! My daughter and son don’t need spineless adults unwilling to protect the only chance they have at a critical and powerful democratic education. My children deserve (and so do all Wisconsin children) advocacy and action! Vos and all the other accountability hawks hellbent on killing childhood are the ones that need to be held accountable. For 30 years they have defunded and redirected precious resources to an accountability scam designed to enrich test and data companies and dismantle OUR public schools. NO MORE! Test and punish accountability has been a disaster!


It’s time for an accountability system that holds legislators accountable for making sure all children come to school well fed, well clothed, warm, healthy, and protected from the trauma of living in a state of perpetual uncertainty—poverty. If this new set of power pawns fail to pry our most vulnerable from the trappings of generational racism and destroy the economic system that only rewards their campaign funders then they must be the ones held accountable, judged “legislatively inadequate” and stripped of all legislative power. We must get rid of “failing” legislators.



Chalkbeat in Colorado reports that school authorities are worried about a mass opt-out by high school students in Boulder and in Douglas County and possibly other districts. The students say they have been tested nonstop during their entire school careers, and “enough is enough.” They are right.


This letter just in from a student leader in Colorado, who attends Fairview High School in Boulder, the epicenter of the student revolt. When the students organize and push back, they will change the national climate. Students are the true victims of our nation’s obsession with high-stakes testing and standardized testing. It is they who are losing a real education while their schools are compelled to administer test after test, taking away a month or more of instruction, dropping the arts and other subjects that encourage creativity. When teachers and administrators protest, they can be fired. The students cannot be fired. They are powerful because they are free to voice their opinions without fear of retribution.  If this time of national test mania should ever subside, it will be because students like these in Colorado stood together and demanded real education, real instruction, instruction meant to recognize their talents and to inspire them to ask questions, not to check the right boxes. As the scholar Yong Zhao writes in his last book about Chinese education, standardized tests are inherently authoritarian; they require students to give the answer that the authorities demand. These students reject authoritarianism; they want an education that challenges them, inspires them, brings out the best in them. And they are right. They are the Tom Paines of our time. May their numbers multiply. They act in the authentic American tradition of revolt against distant and oppressive authorities.


For their intelligence, their courage, and their resistance to mindless demands that destroy their education, I name these students to the honor roll of the blog. The adults are “just following orders.” The students are taking an active role in their own education.






Hello Ms. Ravitch,
My name is Jennifer Jun and I am a senior at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. I’m writing to tell you that the senior class of our school, along with several other schools, is planning a protest of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) test that is expected to take place this Thursday 11/13 and Friday 11/14.


I have been following your blog and updates to educational issues for some time now, and I simply wanted to reach out and let you know. It would be an honor to have our event recognized by a key individual in the national education reform dialogue like you.
After extensive and research and discussion our senior class has decided that the implementation of this test did not take into account student opinions, and also does not accurately reflect the Colorado social studies and science curriculum. Therefore, we students have decided to opt out of the test and gather by the school during the testing hours to protest the lack of student voice that goes into such educational reform.


The students have been actively initiating dialogue with school administration, the district, and intend to find other channels to talk to policy makers and individuals that are involved in implementations of such tests.


Students have made a 3-minute informational video about the protest, which outlines additional details about the event: . We have also written an open letter discussing our opinions of the test:


The protest was just released to the public today, and here is one of the several articles outlining the event:
Thank you for your time and for being such an active voice for the students and the betterment of education.





Jennifer Jun
Fairview High School

Peter Greene knows that breaking up is hard to do. But it is happening. The people who love charters also were promoting Common Core. They had a common goal: make public schools look bad, then watch the stampede to privately-managed charters.


What is it about Common Core that has made it toxic? The more teachers use it, the more the polls show they don’t like it. Rhetoric to the contrary, CCSS does tell teachers how to teach, based on the likes and dislikes of the authors, few of whom ever were classroom teachers. Rhetoric to the contrary, the early grades set absurd expectations that some children will meet easily, and others won’t reach for a year or two. No one on the writing team had ever taught little kids or had no idea that they develop at different rates. No one had any experience teaching students with disabilities, most of whom will look bad on Common Core tests. Greene points to the number of governors, like Malloy and Cuomo, who disowned the Common Core, but I think it is better to wait and see what happens now that the election is over.


Greene writes:


The Ed Reform movement has always been a marriage of different groups whose interests and goals sometimes aligned, and sometimes did not. The Systems Guys, the Data Overlords, the Common Core Corporate Hustlers, the Charter Privateers, the Social Engineers– they agree on some things (we need to replace variable costly teachers with low-cost uniform widgets), but there are cracks in the alliance, one seems to be turning into a fissure.


The Common Core Hustlers are being dumped by the Charter Privateers. It’s not an obvious break-up– the privateers haven’t texted the Core backers to say, “Hey, we need to talk.” It’s the slow, soft drop. The unreturned phone calls. The unwillingness to even say the name. Not even making eye contact when they show up at the same party. It’s awkward. It’s painful.


It wasn’t always like this. Charters and the Core were a match made in heaven. To spur financing and enrollment, the Charter forces needed a way to “prove” that public schools suck, and that meant finding a yardstick with which public schools could be measured and found failing. That meant some sort of standardized test, and that meant something to test them on. So, Common Core. The Core and the Tests (from which it could not, must not, be separated) would be the smoking gun, the proof that public schools were failing and that only privatizing schools would save Our Nation’s Youth.


The corporate folks liked it because it was another opportunity for market growth. The fake liberals liked it because it could be packaged as a way to bring equity to the poor. The fake conservatives liked it because it could be packaged as a way to use market forces to get those slacker poor folks into line.The Core and Charter really got each other. They wanted all the same things.


But soon, the love affair between charters and the Core started to show strain. The Core would show up late at night, smelling like Big Government. And while everybody’s friends liked the Core when it first started coming around, but as they got to know it, they started whispering behind its back that it was kind of an asshole. Pretty soon, old friends like Bobby Jindal were calling the Core out in public. And when election season came, they weren’t invited to the same parties together any more. Jeb Bush had been the Core’s oldest and best friend, and even he had a huge party where Charters were held up for praise and applause and the Core wasn’t even mentioned.


There was no longer any denying it. When Charter walked into the cafeteria, instead of sitting down with the Core and telling friends, “You should come sit with the Core. It’s cool” instead Charter would sit on the other side of the room and say, “You don’t want to sit at that table with that thing.”


Once the Core had been a marketing point. Public schools were bad news because they couldn’t do Common Core well enough. Now public schools are bad news because they are trying to do Common Core well enough. We used to market charters as a way to run toward the Core; now we market them as a way to run away from it.

None of the reformsters who now disown Common Core are dropping any other part of the reformster agenda, especially not privatization.


And you can bet they are not dropping high-stakes testing either, unless the public revolt gets loud enough for legislators to hear it.




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