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Letters: Debate flares over school tests


3. TEST SCORES PLUNGE AFTER COMMON CORE IMPLEMENTATION - When results were released in August for tests taken in April, passage rates on state tests plunged by more than half statewide in math and nearly as much in English, under the New York Department of Education's more rigorous standards known as the Common Core. Read the full story Credit: iStock

I agree with the parents boycotting the exams for young children ["More say 'no' to state testing," News, March 24].

The testing is unfair to the kids. It stresses them out, along with the teachers and other faculty. The exams take away from class time, and some students are just not good at taking exams.

But I disagree with having the students who opt out of the exams just sit there and do nothing. They are kids and deserve to do something with their time other than stare at a wall. It is like a punishment.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. In the story, Port Washington parent Diane Livingston is quoted saying, "Standardized test prep has hijacked the classroom" and "Children are simply learning to take multiple-choice tests."

Some school administrators also agree with the parents who want to opt out of the testing. Is it really worth putting children through this?

Sarah Bosworth, Lindenhurst

Diane Livingston claims it's "torture" for students to take the Common Core exams. I hope this mother has no more expectation for her children than that they become fast-food clerks. They are unlikely to be able to sit for state board exams should they want to become doctors, lawyers or civil service employees.

Those state exams often involve many days of tough testing, and rightly so. I wouldn't want to go to a doctor who refused to sit for an exam because it was tough.

Kids need to see what reality is like so they will be prepared for the future. Nothing will be given to them on a silver platter, unless they enter a family-owned business. Children must work hard and learn in school to be successful.

Linda Levy, Levittown

The article "Education funds for NY at risk" [News, March 19] further illustrates why accepting money from the federal government is wrong when it results in relinquishing local control of our public schools.

The "admonition" from the director of the implementation unit of the U.S. Department of Education, with the message that New York must obey national curricula initiatives, should serve as a warning to proceed with caution in the rushed implementation of the Common Core initiative.

Even at the risk of losing a portion of the federal Race to the Top funds, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature should delay, at a minimum, the high-stakes testing for students in grades three through eight. We need more time to get this initiative corrected and on the right footing.

Despite the state's poor rollout of the Common Core learning standards, school districts across the state have been working hard to implement them.

Unlike Georgia, which Newsday reports has had federal funds withheld, New York State has revised its rigorous teacher evaluation system. We are simply asking for a waiver to slow down the implementation to a reasonable pace where educators can raise standards in a way that helps, rather than hurts, children.

Charles A. Leunig, Copiague

Editor's note: The writer is the Copiague schools superintendent.