New York Bill Would Explicitly Allow Parents to Opt Children Out of Common Core Testing

ALBANY, N.Y., (Apr. 7, 2017) – A bill introduced in the New York House would allow certain students to opt out of Common Core Standards and testing, a small step toward nullifying nationalized education in the state.

The law would provide additional legal backing to some of the hundreds of thousands of New York parents who have already opted their kids out of standardized testing.

Asm. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) and Asm. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Gove) introduced Assembly Bill 7084 (A7084) on Apr. 4. The legislation would allow parents, legal guardians or school districts to opt children with an individualized education program out of the “Common Core standards” and certain associated testing. It would require public schools to give the following alert to parents:

“It is the right of every parent to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Parents may refuse to permit their children to take state testing provided by Pearson or any other state testing based on common core standards. Parents who refuse to permit their children to take such tests may fill out and return the attached form. No punitive measures may be taken against students who refuse to participate in such testing, nor shall students who do participate in such testing receive any incentive or reward for doing so.”

The move would represent a small step toward reestablishing state, local and individual control over New York’s education system.

Senate Bill 1942 (S1942) was introduced by Sen. George Latimer (D-Port Chester) earlier this year with similar provisions as A7084, giving New York residents two separate chances to shield children from the Common Core testing regime in 2017.

BACKGROUND

Parents didn’t wait for permission to take action in the Empire State. Last year, over 265,000 students in grades 3-8 refused to take part in New York State’s 2016 Common Core assessments. This shows a developing movement of individual nullification in New York that could make it extremely difficult for Common Core to persist, law or no law. However, passage of A7084 will help their cause.

Common Core was intended to create nationwide education standards. While touted as a state initiative through the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the U.S. Department of Education was heavily involved behind the scenes. Up until recently, the DoE tied the grant of waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to adoption of Common Core, using the standards as powerful strings to influence state educational policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress this month now prohibits the DoE from attempting to “influence, incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the Common Core State Standards … or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States.”

Even with the federal strings cut from Common Core for the time being, it is still imperative for each state to adopt its own standards. The feds can once again use these national standards to meddle in state education at any time if they remain in place. Just as importantly, one-size-fits-all standard simply don’t benefit children. State and local governments should remain in full control of their own educational systems.

Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice and freedom. A7084 would take a small step toward that goal, and possibly set the stage for further action. Ultimately, New York should simply reject Common Core completely and create its own standards that best represent the interests and needs of students in the Empire State.

The legislation will be referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

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