For the second year, students across the state are about to take standardized tests based on much more difficult learning standards known as the Common Core, and along with number 2 pencils, the tests this year have brought political battles, student protests and even supportive pep rallies. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
Next week, third- through eighth-grade students will sit down to state standardized tests.
However, at P.S. 146, the Brooklyn New School, at least 211 of the 306 students there will sit it out. Their parents have signed them up for a form of conscientious objecting for the high-stakes tested generation.
"I think the emphasis on high stakes testing in this city, in this state, in this country is detrimental to education," said parent Kemala Karmen.
"I don't believe the test is an accurate determination of what my child knows," said parent Karen Delgado.
They call it "opting out" of the tests, and so far, relatively few city students have been involved. Last year, just 320 out of 422,000 were.
Most who have opted out come from a few schools with progressive reputations and a higher percentage of middle-class families than the city average. Yet their numbers have been multiplying each year.
The 70 percent of students at the Brooklyn New School who are not taking the tests will do so with the support of their teachers and their principal, despite the state Education Department's clear policy that testing is required.
"I don't believe the state has the right to impose this sort of testing on my child or on any child," Karmen said.
It's a message that's made its way to Albany. As the governor and legislature hammer out the final details of the state budget, all parties say they're committed to adding language to minimize the impact of the exams.
"So that the testing that takes place in April will be less dramatic, less traumatic to the students," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
That's likely to include a ban on testing in the early grades and protection for students who get low scores.
However, not everybody is opposed to testing. On Tuesday, thousands of Success Academy charter school students sang, danced and cheered at a rally designed to celebrate their work preparing for the exams.
"It's important to your self-confidence," said Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools.
It's also important to the future of their schools. These charter schools' high test scores, especially when compared to nearby public schools, have been a key point as they've fought, and won, many political battles.