This just arrived in my email from parents in Williamsburg, Brooklyn:


This was sent to all D14 Principals and Parent Coordinators. Feel free to share in your districts.

Dear Principals, Parent Coordinators, PTA presidents and school communities,

At the recent Town Hall sponsored by the CEC14, it was requested that we distribute information on opting out of the upcoming NYState high stakes tests to D14 parents in grades 3-5 and grades 6-7.

Speakers at the Town Hall included:

Brooke Parker, former CEC14 member, parent activist, WAGPOPS rep
David Dobosz, long-time NYC public school teacher and respected education activist
Janine Sopp, parent activist, Change the Stakes rep
Brian DeVale, Principal PS 257 and D14 CSA Rep
Esteban Duran, community organizer – El Puente, CB1

It is because we have the utmost respect for our Superintendent, our district, our schools, our principals, and our teachers, that we are building a movement to get our classrooms and schools wrested back into your deserving hands. The only way to do this is to get as many students to opt out of the high stakes state tests as possible. We believe in the promise of public education. We believe in our teachers, our principals, and our schools. NOW is the time to show the courage of our convictions.

Based on parent interest, Superintendent Winnicki is preparing for larger numbers than ever of our students opting this year.

We understand that schools are concerned about the impact of going beyond the 5% threshold. We have been in conversation with our city, state, and federal elected officials to protect our schools from punishments. The movement to opt out of high stakes testing has grown considerably.

No school (not even a Title 1 school) will stand alone in opting out.

This is a 100% parent led effort taking place district wide, city wide, and state wide.

It is our parents’ Supreme Court guaranteed civil right to opt their children out of these tests. It is also every person’s Supreme Court guaranteed right to Freedom of Speech (including school staff’s). You have the right to disseminate information regarding parents’ civil right to opt out of state tests.

Council Member Steven Levin’s office is working on proposing legislation to get the NYC Department of Education to provide an FAQ for parents on how to opt out of state tests, reaffirming our rights.

We want to make it clear that we are not telling you to tell your parents to opt out, but asking you to disseminate this information and allowing parents to make this decision on their own. We do not encourage 4th and 7th grade parents who are interested in their children applying to screened middle schools or screened high schools to opt out of the state tests because it could impact those students’ admissions to middle and high schools.

City Council Member Steven Levin is also developing a proposed resolution that would affirm the following:

1) It is the Supreme Court guaranteed civil right of every parent to opt out of the high stakes tests. Parents can choose to refuse their children taking these tests for any reason.

2) No teacher, school, principal, or district should be punished as a result of parents exercising their civil right to opt out of state tests. Any punishments related to opting out should be considered unconstitutional as those punishments hinge upon the violation of parents’ civil rights.

3) Every teacher, school, principal, and district has the Freedom of Speech to inform parents of their civil right to opt out of state tests.

4) Children whose parents have opted them out of state tests will be given appropriate educational activities and not be required to “sit and stare” at a desk during the test-taking time.

We anticipate our state and federal elected officials following suit in protecting our students, our teachers, our principals, and our schools.

Please distribute the enclosed information to your 3rd to 5th graders or 6th through 8th graders (in English and Spanish) about opting out as well as the letter template that parents can fill out and return to you. We ask that you keep track of the number of parents opting out. We need to keep track of this information.

Additionally, we will give parents who choose to opt-out of the high stakes tests a templated letter for them to send to elected officials at all levels and the media on the first day of testing. The letter will state that they support their school and teachers, but are opting out in opposition to loss of control at the local level, as well as the punitive measures that high stakes tests impose on children and teachers. The letter will also clearly state that this is a 100% parent-led effort.

Please share this letter far and wide, including to your colleagues, coworkers and friends outside of D14.

We thank you for all your hard work!

Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents: Our Public Schools!
representing public school parents across D14