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Local parents refuse Common Core standardized testing

By ANNA MEILER

ILION, N.Y. (WKTV) -- New York State standardized tests aligned with the controversial Common Core curriculum are less than a month away, and local parents are taking steps to make sure their children don't take them.

This latest push against the Common Core is taking a stab at math and English language testing for students in grades three through eight. The key word here is "refuse."

Parents say there's no provision to opt out of these tests, but they do have the right to refuse them.

The New York State Allies for Public Education released this video Monday, informing parents of this option. The video says 400 minutes of testing in the spring is overwhelmingly stressful for students and reduces them to numbers.

At an information session in Ilion Monday, local parents provided resources to the public, including templates of letters to send schools to officially refuse the tests.

An Ilion mom, Leslie Nicolette, pulled her daughter out of school all together after she took the tests in third grade last year.

"It was just a nightmare. She had 15 pages of homework a night the whole month of March. Everything stopped and they just did math and ELA the whole time- almost the whole year. It was not a great experience. The teachers were doing what they could but it's just not a good situation," said Nicolette.

Even though Nicolette no longer has a child in public schools, she wants to get the word out to other parents.

"I want parents to know that their children don't have to sit through these tests. They're useless, they don't affect their grades, they don't affect the teachers' grades and it is just damaging to the child. It's abusive and there's no reason why they have to do it," said Nicolette.

Parents also argue the heavy focus on testing takes away from classroom creativity.

There is currently a bill in the Assembly that would delay using the tests to evaluate teacher performance for two years. It doesn't have a co-sponsor in the Senate.

Upcoming information sessions:

-Saturday, March 8
11:30 a.m.
New Hartford Public Library

-Monday, March 10
6:00 p.m.
Kirkland Public Library in Clinton

Residents from all towns are welcomed to attend.

NYS Allies for Public Education test refusal resources: http://www.nysape.org/refusing-the-test-resources.html

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