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Letter: Don't understand opt-out movement

This is a first grade classroom at the

This is a first grade classroom at the end of the day Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

I just finished reading yet another article regarding Common Core testing ["Opt-out voices rise at Bohemia forum," News, March 19], and the very vocal push by a loud minority of mostly educators to have students opt out of these tests.

Educators have a personal stake in the outcome of these tests, in the form of potentially lower ratings on their evaluations, so it's easy to understand why they would like these tests to disappear. However, as a parent of children in the fifth and seventh grades, I am struggling to understand why parents are so eager to have their children opt out.

The only arguments that I have heard are that the tests are too challenging and are causing undue stress for children. The tests are extremely challenging, but by allowing children to opt out, we're effectively telling them that we don't believe that they are up to the challenge. And we're teaching them that it's OK to simply avoid things outside their comfort zone.

I'm at a loss to understand why children experience so much stress over these tests. Common Core tests are simply a tool to aid in evaluating progress and identifying areas in which a student may need extra attention. There seems to be no direct relationship between the test results and a student's academic standing, so why all the fuss?

I've heard some students complain that they were told in class that if they didn't do well, their teachers may lose their jobs. I hope it's not true, because it would be very troubling to discover that educators were pushing their own personal agenda to children in the classroom.

Mike Bompane, Nesconset


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