Friday, April 3, 2015


Surprisingly, Tuesday's state budget adoption linked the distribution of increased school aid to another revision of Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) elements. Assessments are one of two elements to be weighted in the APPR that must be approved by November 15. 

With this news, the movement to promote test refusal*, as a means to make a political statement, has increased around our state. 

We have heard from many members; some urging NYS PTA to endorse test refusal, but most appreciating our position to support every parent's right to make the choice for their own child. 

As the, “New York State PTA Position Paper: Use of Student Assessment & Its Impact on High‐Stakes Educational Decisions” states:

High‐stakes testing associated with political initiatives has changed the landscape of education in New York State and across our country. The effects of some of these changes may be unintended, but when devoid of a sound educational rationale, they can actually interfere with educational improvement.

We also support the need for meaningful pupil assessment and educator accountability. Current trends unfortunately exaggerate the use of narrowly defined results to judge educational performance and make high‐stakes educational decisions. These trends cannot be permitted to stifle student and educator creativity or to impede the imperative to educate the whole child.

The latest action by our state leaders, combined with member feedback on both sides of the issue, creates an urgency to reiterate that NYS PTA strongly supports the right of every parent to decide what is best for their child whether to take or refuse the test.

We strongly recommend that parents whose children will not participate in annual testing work collaboratively with their school district’s administration on a plan for the child that is agreeable to both parties.

Finally we ask that, no matter how you choose, everyone be respectful of another parents’ right to make either a similar or different choice for their child. 

*Please note, we do not refer to this as “opt-out” as that is not an option in our state. One can "refuse the test" or "not participate" thereby causing the test to be coded 999.


Bonnie M. Russell
NYS PTA® President
Communicate to Advocate!