In less than two weeks, 410,000 city kids are expected to take out their number two pencils for the state standardized tests, but this year, some teachers may be encouraging their students to refuse to take the exams at all. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
At the Brooklyn New School last spring, a whopping 80 percent of students did not take the state tests. While it was the parents' decision, families at the famously progressive public school knew they had their teachers' full support.
It's what the state teachers' union hopes will happen at every school this year, and it wants teachers to not just support families who want their kids to skip the tests, but also to encourage them.
"Yes, we are encouraging parents to opt out," said Karen Magee, president of the state teachers' union.
For the union, it's an act of sabotage after a big political loss this week. Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed through several controversial education reforms the unions opposed, like increasing the importance of test scores in teacher evaluations. Union leaders now hope that if enough students balk at testing, officials won't have the data they need.
Magee: Statistically, if you take out enough, it has no merit or value whatsoever.
Reporter: Is that your goal?
Magee: At this point in time, it's the best way to go.
The city's teachers' union is also blasting the tests, which for the past two years have been based on the controversial Common Core curriculum standards.
"Our state tests do not do anything in terms of add value to our school system," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the city's teachers' union.
Last year, just 35 percent of city students passed the math test, and 29 percent passed the English exam.
"We want to tell parents, there's no diagnostics involved, there's no information that comes out that helps us help your child. If that's something you have a problem with, then you should opt your child out," Mulgrew said.
The opt-out movement has been growing in recent years, though it still represents a tiny portion of all test takers. Last year, nearly 2,000 city kids opted out, up from 113 two years before.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Carmen Fariña sent a letter to principals asking them to encourage families to take the tests, saying it's a valuable tool for the city. But she also said that if families choose not to, the schools should respect their decision.