Some parents and local leaders say the city needs to do more to educate parents on their right to "opt-out" of standardized tests. NY1's Shannan Ferry filed this report.
With New York State standardized exams fast approaching, there's something these protestors want parents to know.
"You have a right to opt-out of these tests," said City Councilman Daniel Dromm.
Dromm held a rally on 37th Avenue Sunday calling on the city Department of Education to better inform parents of their right to reject high-stakes tests.
"I got an e-mail from the Chancellor's office that talked about all the things to do before testing, make sure they have a good meal the night before, but once again nothing about the right to opt-out," said Tracey Peel, who is a parent.
The opt-out movement has been growing in recent years. About 240,000 parents opted their kids out last year.
Parents we spoke with say the tests put stress on kids and have a negative impact on education.
"Schools are not gonna be teaching to our kids, they're going to be teaching to the test," said Danny Katch, who is a parent.
Dromm and parents we spoke with want to emphasize they're not against testing in general, it's just these standardized tests they have an issue with.
"The result of the test reveals schools that are supposedly low performing, label them as failures, and give the power to the state to close them down," said Amanda Vender, who is a parent and teacher.
Department of Education spokeswoman Devora Kaye tells NY1 in part "This year's State exams have been changed to address concerns raised by students, parents, and educators. There will be fewer questions, no time limit for students as long as they are working productively and no impact on teacher evaluations."
She goes on to say the DOE has lowered the stakes on testing, and promotion decisions will no longer be made based on tests alone, but also on things like class work, grades, projects and homework assignments.
She also says principals are directed to respect families' decisions and are encouraged to meet with parents to discuss their concerns.
Exams are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.