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Updated 04/12/2013 09:15 PM
RCSD School Board Member Takes a Stand Against Standardized Tests
By: YNN Staff
A Rochester City School Board member says her children will opt-out and not take any state standardized tests this year. She says those tests are unfair and meaningless.
It's been an issue for years. YNN's Geoff Redick reports on this sudden strong push against standardized testing, and why now.
"Common Core" is the new set of state education standards being implemented for the first time this year, and parents and teachers say they don't want their children and students being the guinea pigs.
School board member Willa Powell and others gathered at the Sully Branch Library on Webster Avenue in Rochester. Powell said parents don't need a standard invented in Albany to let them know children are learning in Rochester.
"I don't need more feedback. This test won't give me more feedback because it's based on a common core curriculum that hasn't even been taught in the classroom," Powell said.
"I believe that that relationship between a teacher and a student is sacred, and anything that's a wedge between the teacher and the student damages that relationship, and this is as big of a wedge as you can put inside the classroom," said parent Elizabeth Laidlaw.
Rochester City School Board President Malik Evans released this statement late Friday:
"I respect Commissioner Powell's right as a District parent to act as she sees fit relative to her child. But I must underscore her statement that she is acting as a parent. The Rochester Board of Education... encourages all parents of eligible children to participate in the assessments."
Denise Thompson of the New York State Education Department said in a statement:
"Parents who keep their children from taking these tests are essentially saying I don't want to know where my child stands on the path to college and career readiness, and that's doing them a real disservice."
The school district says they have only received about a dozen opt-out forms from students. They expect to receive only three or four more before the tests next week.