Despite the fact that most of his friends won't be there, my fifth-grader will be taking the New York State tests ["A teachable moment," Editorial, April 19]. While I respect the decision of other parents to opt out their children, my husband and I have discussed the testing at great length. We've spoken to educators on both sides of the debate.
I don't agree with the way Common Core was implemented, but there's nothing I can do about that now.
I don't agree with basing 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation on test scores. However, I do feel that it's the right of students to learn the same material as others their age regardless of the state they live in. It's unfair that certain areas lack resources and proper curricula.
I also feel that testing is found in a wide range of occupations and demonstrates accountability. Many professions require testing, not just to enter, but also throughout one's career. It is vital to learn how to take tests.
I haven't spoken up at PTA meetings or rallies because people I like and respect have differing opinions, and I honestly didn't have the guts. But my son told me he felt cast out for being one of the few students to take the tests. And that's not fair. Parents and teachers should not create an environment in which children can chastise others for taking tests.
Melody Butler, Lindenhurst
I would like to share my disappointment with Newsday's views on education ["Union misleads on school tests," Editorial, April 13].
This editorial doesn't present a clear picture. Before the Common Core testing, educators could use the tests to evaluate student strengths as well as provide professional development for educators; this is no longer the case, as the tests are now kept a secret, with only a few questions released.
Over the past two years, the tests have significantly changed with the introduction of the Common Core. The tests are appropriate for the best of students, but frustrating for those who need additional support. The current tests present unclear language that attempts to trick even the students at the highest readiness. These tests are flawed.
Additionally, the new state exams for grades three through eight were introduced at the same time as the new teacher and principal evaluation system. There was a great variation from the first year to the second. The state Education Department won't supply the data used to calculate student scores and refuses to even explain how scores are calculated.
Parents and educators have no other way to show their disapproval than to refuse the tests. As a school principal, I was averse to the thought of students refusing any standardized exam, but someone needs to listen and make the required changes.
Glen Rogers, Jericho
Editor's note: The writer is the principal of the Jericho Elementary School.
I was quite surprised that Newsday would allow two lobbyists to write an op-ed about why our children must take state tests ["3 ways 'opting out' spells disaster," Opinion, April 10]. These two hired guns aren't experts in school administration or educational theory, let alone the humble vocation of teaching.
Using the media to disparage the common sense of parents seems fair game these days. Having my children refuse to take these tests is not teaching them to say no to tests they don't like. We are teaching our kids to say no to a government policy implemented by uninformed politicians in Albany threatening to withhold money.
My son did learn quite a bit from this article, which we read together. He understands the meaning of the word blackmail.
Michael Tahany, Huntington
Editor's note: The writer is a teacher at a Catholic high school.