The New York Daily News reports that  the revolt among the state tests is growing among parents. State officials are doing whatever they can to tamp down the parent rebellion against the state’s obsession with testing. No one at the State Education Department ever speaks of the “joy of learning,” as New York City Chancellor Carmen Farina did when her appointment was announced. The state department seems to be filled with statisticians, bean counters, technocrats, and bureaucrats who never read for fun, never enjoyed learning, don’t like learning. They love data. Data fill them with joy.


“…The revolt against the education overlords in Albany was gathering steam Thursday as parent organizers at Public School 368 in Harlem said they will not subject their kids to the annual English Language Arts (ELA) and math exams that begin next week.

Kimberly Casteline, whose 8-year-old son attends the school, said the tests are unfair.

“A child can have a bad day, a child can be a bad test taker,” said the Fordham University professor. “Test taking does not equate to learning and that’s where we’re getting these two concepts conflated.”

Casteline and the other refuseniks believe the emphasis on standardized exams takes the joy out of learning and forces teachers to teach to the tests.

“I decided to opt my son out of the test after realizing that he was going to spend six valuable days of the school year taking the test, and even more days preparing for the test,” Casteline said.

Jasmine Batista, who has two sons the school, said the test needlessly stressed out her 10-year-old.

“He was concerned that he would not go on to the next grade,” she said. “He was crying, he had no appetite, he couldn’t sleep. He was so happy when that test was done.”

Now her 8-year-old is feeling the angst.

“My third-grader is now also stressed out because of what he saw his older brother go through,” she said.

Donnie Rotkin, a former public school teacher who is now an academic coach at two elementary schools in northern Manhattan, echoed the worried moms.

“Too many schools spend weeks, months, narrowly focused on preparing kids for these tests,” said Rotkin.

While surveys show that many public school parents share those sentiments, so far very few have yanked their kids out of the classroom on testing days.

Last year, 5,100 of the 1.2 million students who were supposed to take the tests statewide didn’t do so, officials said.

He was crying, he had no appetite, he couldn’t sleep. He was so happy when that test was done. State Education Department spokesman Dennis Tompkins defended the testing as “one of many tools that should be used to measure student growth and help inform instruction.”

“The year, the parents of more than a million students across the state will ‘opt-in’ to the state assessments,” he said…..

But the rebellions in schools like P.S. 368 are spreading across the city and gaining in strength, the anti-testing advocacy group Change the Stakes claims.

Administered for roughly one hour per day over six days, spread out over five weeks, the results are used in decisions to promote students, evaluate school performance and educators, and figure into bonuses for school staffers whose students do well on the tests.

There are no official consequences for the kids who opt out of the tests. Instead of being judged on how well they did on the standardized exams, they will be evaluated on their school work.