The numbers, released Tuesday, April 28, were lower than neighboring districts. In Onteora, opt-out rates were 64 percent English, 69 percent math; New Paltz middle school, 62 percent and 69 percent; Kingston, 43 percent and 44 percent; Rondout Valley middle school, 38 percent (just English).
In northern Dutchess the rates were lower; 20 percent in Red Hook, nine percent for Rhinebeck elementary students and 17 percent for middle school students.
The tests — last week in math, the prior week in English Language Arts — are given to students in grades three through eight to measure how well students are absorbing the new and controversial Common Core curricular standards. While they do not count in students’ grades, they are to be used, also controversially, in evaluating teachers. Parents across the state, seemingly having reached a boiling point with standardized testing and the harm many things it does to education, had their kids refuse the tests in large numbers.
In a release accompanying the data, Superintendent Seth Turner called on the state to refrain from holding districts liable for having fewer than 95 percent participation rates. Technically, a district that falls below that rate should be noted as having failed to meet what’s called Adequate Yearly Progress. Consecutive failures can trigger greater state intervention and require districts to devote resources to putting together plans to address the problem, an issue Turner highlighted in the weeks leading up to the tests.
“It is my hope that the federal and state governments will now take action to address the myriad of issues surrounding K-12 education in our country, particularly the obsession with data collection and use of standardized tests for children,” he wrote.