Why opt out?

8 Reasons to Opt Out  (See How To Opt Out in NYC)

1. When students, teachers and schools are rewarded for high test scores and punished for low ones, the tests themselves become the focus of education.Class time is devoted to test prep, which robs children of their natural desire to learn.

2. The state exams test only two subjects: English and math.That encourages schools to give less time to social studies, music, art, world languages, physical education, and even science.

3. High-stakes testing undermines important learning.In its 2011 report to Congress, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed America’s test-based accountability systems and concluded, “There are little to no positive effects of these systems overall on student learning and educational progress.”

4. State exams are loaded with poorly written, ambiguous questions.A statement signed by 545 New York State Principals noted that many teachers and principals could not agree on the correct answers.

5. While New York State is paying Pearson millions of dollars, it is massively underfunding NYC public schools.This is part of a national trend: states cut funding to public schools while pouring millions into new computer systems designed for Common Core tests.

6. High-stakes tests don’t help students learn or teachers teach.The results come too late for that. The tests are largely punitive: they punish teachers, students, and schools that don’t perform. Low test scores can be used to hold good students back and rate strong teachers as “ineffective” despite high ratings by their principals.

7. High-stakes testing undermines teacher collaboration. Teachers are judged on a curve, which discourages them from helping students in another teacher’s class.

8. One-size-fits-all tests punish and discourage students who are already vulnerable, including students of color, English-Language Learners, children with special needs, and students from families living in poverty.

If you have questions, email us at changethestakes@gmail.com. We can put you in touch with parents who refused the tests last year or are planning to do so this year.

Fact Sheets

8 Reasons to Opt Out and How to Do It

8 Reasons to Opt Out ENGLISH/ SPANISH

Opting Out of the State ELA & Math Tests in NYC: Frequently Asked Questions (color)

Opting Out of the State ELA & Math Tests in NYC: Frequently Asked Questions (b&w)

Sample Opt Out Letters

English: .html | .doc
Spanish: .html | .doc

From the NYC Department of Education

NYC DOE FAQ: Student Participation in Grades 3-8 New York State Tests, Parent Guide

Will My School Lose Funding?

Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School (Fairtest)

The 95% Participation Rate and How Schools Do NOT Lose Funding (NYSAPE)