The Hudson Valley Alliance for Public Education issued a statement pledging to increase the number if opt outs next spring, in response to the Board of Regents’ decision to endorse a punitive, test-based teacher evaluation system. In the new system, test scores will count for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation, despite the American Statistical Association’s warning that a teacher accounts for 1-14% of variation in test scores.

Supporters of VAM think that the teachers’ union is pulling the strings and persuading parents to express such views. They think parents are dupes and fools. They are wrong.

Parents understand that when test scores matter so much, teachers will spend more time on test prep and less time on untested subjects. This is educationally unsound, and it hurts their children.

The parents support opt out to protect their children.

Here is the statement of the Hudson Valley Alliance:

“Parents across the Hudson Valley are dismayed by yesterday’s vote by the Board of Regents to adopt teacher evaluation regulations that will double down on high stakes testing and the harmful effects of test-prep driven education. While we applaud the courage of those Regents who voted no, Hudson Valley parents are disappointed with Regent Finn’s failure to protect public school children in our area.

“Under Chancellor Tisch’s leadership, the Regents majority have failed to challenge flawed legislation that harms public school children” said Carol Newman Sharkey, Orange County public school parent. “It is clear that Chancellor Tisch must be removed from her position when her term is up this year.”

“The Regents failed to rise up against the Governor’s tyrannical demands and instead have allowed bad education policies to displace whole child and sound pedagogical practices. They have stood idly by while Cuomo makes a mockery out of public schools putting cronies, political ambition, and charter schools above children” said Tory Lowe, co-founder of Kingston Action for Education and Ulster County public school parent.

“This vote ensures that the opt out movement will continue to grow. Parents seeking to protect their children will not back down or be appeased by false promises of better tests. At the end of the day, you cannot measure teaching and learning with a test score. Until there is real change, parents will continue to reject a corrupt system that destroys authentic teaching and learning” said, Bianca Tanis, New Paltz public school parent.

Since the adoption of the Common Core-aligned assessments, the Regents have voted to limit the number of students entitled to extra support in the form of Academic Intervention Services while simultaneously labeling teachers and students as failures.

“Once again, NYSED seems to talk out of both sides of its mouth. The message that SED continues to spread is that almost 70% of the students in grades 3-8 aren’t “proficient”, but yet schools don’t have to provide AIS (i.e. – “flexibility”) if their level of failure isn’t low enough. Either our children who are scoring ‘1s and 2s’ on the state tests are struggling and they deserve to get the academic support to help them meet the standards, or the standards themselves are inappropriate. They cannot have it both ways” said Tim Farley, Columbia County public school parent.

Stacey Kahn, Ulster County public school parent said “We suggest that Chancellor Tisch and Commissioner stop insulting the intelligence of the public. We will refuse the tests until the Regents majority starts making decisions that put children before politics and corporate sponsors.”

“What took place at the Regents meeting only underscores what parents and educators have known for quite some time – Chancellor Tisch must go. It is critical that parents, educators, and concerned community members turn their eyes towards our state legislators who have the power to amend destructive education law and remove Chancellor Tisch and some of her colleagues as they seek reappointment in the new year. New York students deserve responsible and informed leadership that will ensure an equitable, community-driven, and child-centered education. We will accept nothing less” said Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent.

“The 10 NYS Board of Regents members who lacked the courage to vote against Governor Cuomo’s public school privatization agenda have now emboldened parents towards increased activism. Through the use of social media, traditional media and speakers forums parents will continue to inform and educate. They will forge ahead against these harmful policies using their best weapons…involvement in the political process (our eyes will on our legislators) and of course the 500,000 test refusals for Spring 2016,” said Lauren Isaacs Schimko, public school parent, Rockland County educator & Administrator of “Pencils DOWN Rockland County” on Facebook.

HV Alliance for Public education, is a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for the rights of parents and public school children against harmful testing practices in the Hudson Valley. To join the Alliance or to learn more, please visit us here: