Tags: test | boycott | school | New York | Cuomo

New York School District Considers Boycotting State Tests

Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 06:10 PM

A suburban Buffalo school district may consider breaking the law and boycotting New York State's standardized tests in April in opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's education policies.

A proposal on the agenda of Tuesday's Kenmore-Tonawanda Board of Education meeting would have the board "seriously consider not administering" the mandatory math and English tests to students in grades three through eight unless school funding changes are made.

The board also is considering taking student performance on the Common Core-aligned tests out of the equation for teacher evaluations in the 7,000-student district unless lawmakers change the statewide evaluation formula and reject Cuomo's proposal to make the tests count even more.

"There's an attitude around New York state. We all share frustration with what the governor is doing," board President Bob Dana, who drafted the proposal, said by phone before Tuesday evening's meeting. "Whether or not people are ready to kick it up a notch is another story."

Ken-Ton Superintendent Dawn Mirand said she did not support the boycott because of the potential fallout from the state.

"I support continuing to work with this board and my colleagues in western New York to first exhaust all alternatives to advocate within the law prior to taking any action that could result in sanctions against our district," she said in a statement.

The state Education Department did not indicate whether the district could see state funding withheld if it refused to administer the high-stakes tests.

"The state assessments and their use in Annual Professional Performance Reviews are required by law, and a local board of education is obligated to comply with the law," the department said in an emailed response to questions.

The state uses the annual tests to measure the performance of teachers and schools throughout New York's nearly 700 districts, and scores are a factor in student-placement decisions.

Scores on the tests plunged two years ago when New York rewrote them to align with the more challenging Common Core learning standards that have been adopted by most states in an effort to boost academic rigor. At the same time, New York began requiring school districts to use student performance on the assessments to rate teachers and said two consecutive bad ratings could be grounds for firing.

Last year, dissatisfaction with Common Core and the tests led thousands of New York parents to "opt out" of the 2014 exams.

Cuomo's proposal to give the tests even more weight in teacher evaluations is among several conditions he has set for an increase in state aid in his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. Districts, including Ken-Ton, have accused the governor of "holding hostage" state aid information to pressure the Legislature to pass his measures.

The Ken-Ton proposal would have that district consider boycotting the tests unless Cuomo releases state aid information and lawmakers "establish a fair and equitable state aid funding formula."

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A suburban Buffalo school district may consider breaking the law and boycotting New York State's standardized tests in April in opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's education policies.A proposal on the agenda of Tuesday's Kenmore-Tonawanda Board of...
test, boycott, school, New York, Cuomo
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2015-10-10
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 06:10 PM
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