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Letters: School loses out after 'opt out'

Children hold up signs during the first New

Children hold up signs during the first New York rally in "The Great American Opt Out" at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Newsday's "Blue-Ribbon blues" [News, Aug. 3] once again raises the idea that children are making the decision not to participate in standardized testing.

Quogue superintendent and principal Richard Benson says, "We'd always encouraged kids to participate in testing." Why is an administrator playing this role with children?

In addition, I've seen countless bumper stickers proclaiming, "My child opted out." If an elementary school-age child is making decisions about whether to take a test, I hate to think about what other age-inappropriate decisions he or she is making.

Parents need to step up and take responsibility for (hopefully) being the decision-makers in the family.

I'm now retired, but I taught for 26 years. It's clear that standards in education are surely but steadily going down. Parents, faculty and staff should be demanding high standards from their districts. That is what our students need and thrive on.

If that includes testing that parents deem meaningless or see as too time-consuming, then take the correct steps to remedy that. Don't use your child as a pawn to further decrease standards.

Penny Reich, Wantagh

Parents opted their kids out of state tests that are worthless, inaccurate and a waste of time. The denial of consideration for federal Blue Ribbon School status simply shows that the designation is as meaningless as the state tests.

The school and parents should be commended, not condemned. Maybe they deserve a gold ribbon.

Michael Weinick, Merrick

Editor's note: The writer is a former assistant principal in New York City schools and teaches education at Molloy College.

The time that McVey Elementary school principal Kerry Dunne spent preparing her East Meadow school's application would have been better spent encouraging students to take the tests.

Denial of Blue Ribbon status wasn't for a reason beyond the students' control; all they had to do was show up. Blue Ribbon status is probably not important to the kids, only to the staff and real estate agents.

Stanley Kalemaris, Melville


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