New Common Core testing underway in New York, but many opting out

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Stacey Sager reports many students may be opting out of the controversial Common Core testing program that kicked off Tuesday across New York State. (WABC)

A new round of the controversial Common Core testing kicked off Tuesday across New York State, but a large percentage of students are opting out.

The state says the test are necessary, but opponents say they're just hurting kids.

Students went to school as they always do in Lindenhurst Tuesday, but it's estimated that at least 60 percent of them did so without taking their standardized tests.

The state's English Language Arts, or ELA, exams are scheduled to last through Thursday for third- through eighth-graders but in some districts, the number of kids refusing the test has tripled since last year.

"It's not OK to be a rebel and say no to everything," parent Lisa Freirmuth said. "But sometimes, it's OK to take a stand, when it's the right stand."

Still, it is estimated that approximately one million other kids are taking the tests across the state's nearly 700 districts.

"They do need to learn to take the test," parent Elizabeth Lempert said. "Their whole college experience, their whole Regents experience, they have to take a test."

But in North Bellmore, the momentum against the exams is growing. Critics say too much time is spent on test preps to provide a well-rounded curriculum. Parent Amy Hinojosa says that in her son's class, only two students took the test.

Jeanette Deutermann is the founder of Long Island Opt-Out.

"These tests are not about our kids," she said. "They're not telling us what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are. These tests are to simply evaluate the teachers, at the expense of our kids."

The New York State Education Department sees it differently. In a letter to school administrators, officials wrote, "State testing is considered an important part of instruction" and "There is no provision allowing parents to opt their children out of state tests."

But many are opting out, and the real question is whether it could affect federal funding or school status. In Albany, policy makers are suggesting it could. But on Long Island, many parents believe that's just a scare tactic. And they believe there is power in growing numbers.
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educationcommon coretestsschool testing
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