More than 70,000 students in school districts across Long Island have “opted out” of taking the first round of this year’s controversial Common Core standardized tests, according to education advocates monitoring the numbers of those refusing the exams—and those figures expected to rise.
The heated battle pitting the governor, the teachers unions, and grassroots public school advocacy groups came to a head during this spring’s testing season, culminating in almost 100,000 students—more than half of the student population in Nassau and Suffolk counties—opting out of state tests.
The incoming chancellor’s remarks—made the same day as the gathering at East Islip Middle School—consequently carry enormous weight. Education advocates therefore view her acknowledgement that she’d “opt-out” as indication of a historically seismic shift—an alignment, even—away from the state’s long-held support of Common Core, and toward what opponents term “common sense” education policy.
In a 49-40 vote Monday, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. Department of Education secretary, former New York State education commissioner John B. King, Jr., inciting harsh criticism from education advocates across New York, as well as denunciation from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. New York’s other senator, Chuck Schumer, voted in favor of King’s confirmation. The split vote comes amid ever-growing protests against the controversial education reform Common Core by statewide education advocates, who had experienced firsthand the aftermath of King’s tenure. More than 240,000 students statewide “opted-out” of taking the exams last April. Sen. Gillibrand was the lone Democrat opposing the nod.
State lawmakers joined Common Core opponents in criticizing President Barack Obama’s nomination of former New York State Education Commissioner John King for U.S. Secretary of Education in the first day of confirmation hearings Thursday. King, who assumed the role of acting secretary in January, remains a lightning rod for fury among parents and teachers across New York State upset about his botched implementation of the controversial Common Core education reforms, which led to hundreds of thousands of students across the state and nation “opting out” of taking the standardized tests.
"Getting rid of the testing will cause this entire nonsensical system to implode."