Kingston City School District opt-out rate at 43%

A demonstration Monday, April 13, at Academy Green against the Common Core curriculum and its attendant testing. (Esther Joy/ProjectEJ.com)

A demonstration Monday, April 13, at Academy Green against the Common Core curriculum and its attendant testing. (Esther Joy/ProjectEJ.com)

Some 43 percent of Kingston City School students were opted out of this week’s English Language Arts Common Core tests, district officials announced Thursday.

According to the district, there were 2,813 students eligible to take the test, and 1,212 did not, for a participation rate of 57 percent. The KCSD rate is high for schools in the area, but not as high as Onteora’s 61 percent refusal rate. Statewide, hundreds of thousands of the estimated 1.1 million kids who were to take the tests were opted out by their parents, according to reports.

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Last year, about a third of students didn’t take the controversial standardized tests – according to the state, a participation rate of 95 percent is required to avoid being cited by the state for not meeting standards. In comments earlier this month, KCSD Superintendent Paul Padalino predicted this year more would not take the tests.

“There’s nothing in [the new state budget] that reduces testing on students,” Padalino said. “There’s nothing in this that addresses the opt-out wave that we’re experiencing, that we will continue to experience, and maybe even see it intensify… Thirty-three percent of our students opted out of the tests last year, and I get seven to 10 letters a day from parents opting out of the tests this year…We have further erosion of local control in the receivership model. Seeing that the testing issue was not really addressed, if we’re going to judge a school building by the test scores, and they’ve done nothing to address the opt-out situation, you can have a school where the students are achieving and meeting the standards but are refusing to take the tests. You have no way to demonstrate that to the state and you become a focus school or a priority school.”

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