This email arrived today. The parents who wrote it live in a small town in upstate New York. New York is on fire with opt outs. Last year, 60,000 children refused the Common Core tests. This year, the number will grow significantly. Panicked superintendents, pressured by state bureaucrats, are sending out letters warning parents not to opt out. The Chancellor of the Board of Regents has told affluent communities that she might exempt them and their teachers from the punitive consequences of the testing, in an effort to dampen the Opt Out movement. As this letter shows, this all-hands-on-board attempt to quell the opt outs is not succeeding.





Why Our Third Grade Daughter Will NOT Take NYS Assessments


The direction of NYS public education is being driven by political control and corporate greed instead of what is best for children. The FREEDOM for school administrators to lead, teachers to teach, and students to learn in a child-centered classroom has been STOLEN by bully bureaucrats in Albany and Washington D.C. who know little about education and believe a “one size fits all” approach will somehow “fix” public education.  


In 2010, New York State officials, lured by MONEY from the Federal GOVERNMENT through the Race To The Top program, agreed to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS) which were heavily financed by Bill Gates and developed by private interest groups with heavy influence from the corporate testing industry. CCSS were hastily adopted with no transparency while “grave concerns” from childhood development specialists and educators were ignored. Contrary to the marketing rhetoric that continues to be sold to the American people, CCSS were NOT state led, NOT internationally benchmarked, NOT piloted or tested, and NOT evaluated for cost or efficacy prior to implementation.

The Federal Government then spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to develop National Standardized Tests based on the unproven Common Core Standards which quickly drove the development of unproven curriculum and teaching methods. Now, NYS Dept. of Ed. and our Governor intend to have students take these costly and developmentally inappropriate tests to evaluate the “performance” of school districts and determine whether teachers should keep their jobs.


The NYS Common Core Tests (Grades 3-8) to be administered in April 2015:

  1. Compel teachers to narrow curriculum and spend a high percentage of the year prepping students to take tests on two subjects (Math and ELA) rather than teaching a well-rounded and balanced curriculum that inspires creativity and fosters the joy of learning for all students.
  2. Requires many hours to take and have NO diagnostic value for teachers in supporting the academic achievement of students.
  3. Are flawed, ambiguous, and intentionally designed to fail a high percentage of children by deliberately manipulating the “passing score” through arbitrary and subjective means.
  4. Are being used to collect a vast amount of data on children without parental knowledge or consent.
  5. When refused, will not affect a student’s classroom grade, placement, or services received.


Parents refusing to allow children to take the NYS Standardized Tests will send a clear and powerful message to Albany (and Washington D.C.) that children are not guinea pigs, high-stakes testing based on unproven standards is harmful to public education, and implementing destructive academic reforms using bully tactics will NOT be tolerated!


We have the power to say NO to government overreach. Refuse NYS Assessments and become part of the critical movement to put the “public” back into public education. The time to act is now.



Lynn and Steve Leonard

Corning-Painted Post School District Parents