ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 11, 2018) – A bill introduced in the New York Senate would allow some students to opt out of Common Core Standards and testing, a small step toward nullifying nationalized education in the state.
If passed, 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.
Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford) introduced Senate Bill 7247 (S7247) on Jan. 5. 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 reads as follows:
Any parent, legal guardian or school district may elect to opt a child with an established individualized education program (IEP) out of any standardized test, including the “common core standards”, or those tests administered pursuant to chapter one hundred three of the laws of two thousand ten. The school district shall be guided in its decision to exempt such child from such tests by the members of the committee which established the individualized education program.
The move would represent a small step toward reestablishing state, local and individual control over New York’s education system.
Parents haven’t waited for permission to take action in the Empire State. Over 265,000 students in grades 3-8 refused to take part in New York State’s 2016 Common Core assessments. The opt-out movement continued in 2017. On Long Island, New York alone, more than 90,000 students opted out of math testing and more than 97,000 opted out of the standardized English test. Nearly one-third of Dutchess County, N.Y. students didn’t take state tests in 2017.
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 S7247 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 in 2015 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. S7247 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.
HB7247 was referred to the Senate Education Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before it can be considered by the full Senate.