SCARSDALE, N.Y. – With countless parents, educators and school districts debating the merits of boycotting state-mandated testing in schools, more than 100 Scarsdale students opted out of the first round of exams that kicked off this week.
On Tuesday, nearly one million public school students in third through eighth grade began taking their English Language Arts assessments after weeks of stringent studying and training in the classroom. Next week, they will be further tested when state mandated math exams begin.
In Scarsdale, according to school officials, 110 of more than 2,000 students opted out of testing as of Tuesday, the first day of exams, keeping the district narrowly ahead of the 95 percent of students necessary to comply with state mandates.
If 95 percent of students in a given school district refuse to take the mandatory tests, it is deemed “in need of assistance,” and will subsequently be forced to develop, submit and comply with a local assistance plan, which has happened to the district in the past.
Scarsdale Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who was part of an opt-out movement years ago in the village, warned that it isn’t always what is best for the school or the students.
“As a parent who opted out , I’m in a unique position. Scarsdale believes that state tests don’t live up to their tests, and we didn’t want to over test, so we boycotted,” she said. “Scarsdale was punished for years monetarily and we were buried in paperwork, and we achieved nothing.
“Coming from (the previous opt-out efforts that failed), I’m going to keep an open mind. There is definitely a movement in Westchester County, and any reform we’ve seen is due to that efforts. There’s flexibility within the budget, we just need to educate ourselves on the law.”
Did your children boycott testing? Do you support the opt-out movement? Vote in the poll and continue the conversation in the comments section.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.