“Test of the Test” NOT Mandated Despite NYSEDs Deception

For those interested – here is the letter I just sent my BOE – copy and paste and adjust to YOUR district if you want:

Good Morning,

I am writing to request that the Spackenkill BOE and/or administrators join BOE members and admins across NYS by sending a letter, fax, email or call the Regents to object to NYSEDs proposal to legislate and mandatorize field testing.

NYSED plans to change the ed Laws to mandatorize field testing. They intend to legislate and force schools to administer the abusive field tests by bypassing parent/district control and free will by changing the law to impose draconian field tests on districts. This conversation will take place today and tomorrow in the Regents session.

Mandatorizing field tests would result in an increase in testing, narrowing of the curriculum and more time away from instruction for tests that are tantamount to using our kids as test subjects and guinea pigs for corporations and test makers. That NYSED claims to be interested in reducing testing in NYS is disingenuous in light of this development.

Spackenkill passed a Resolution against HST, among other things, which included a challenge to excessive testing more specifically objecting to FIELD TESTS.

That piece reads:

WHEREAS, the administration of multiple and lengthy standardized tests do not improve learning, have negative effects on students, test stamina rather than knowledge, undermine educational quality by hampering educators’ creativity, and dominate instruction to the detriment of the students and the teachers; and

WHEREAS, standardized tests fail to appropriately accommodate the unique needs of students with disabilities and English language learners in assessing their learning; and

WHEREAS, the focus in the classroom should be on student centered learning toward deep and meaningful understanding, which cannot be solely measured by standardized tests; and

WHEREAS, standalone field tests result in unnecessary and increased testing for our students, and test items embedded into required assessments further increase test length with no added value to student learning and so should be abolished; and

WHEREAS, the state and federal government’s accountability system’s over reliance on standardized testing as the only meaningful measurement of school quality continues to fiscally strangle public schools and undermines educators’ abilities to transform a traditional system of schooling into a broad range of learning experiences that better prepares our students to live successfully and be globally competitive.

In the spirit and intent of that resolution, Spackenkill should object to NYSEDs proposal to mandatorize field testing.

The Regents will be discussing this in session TODAY. Across the state parents and educators are voicing their objections to the proposal. I urge Spackenkill to join admins and BOE members who are advocating for students.

Please contact the regents and tell them this is not ok. Students should NOT be forced to take abusive field tests and districts should not be placed in the untenable position of being forced to field test students.

Superintendent William Cala, Fairport, sent the following letter to the Regents last night:

You can call the Regents at (518) 474-5889 and tell them “No to Mandatory FieldTesting.” LINES are OPEN and they are actually taking calls. I personally spoke to Jen in the Regents office. ‪#‎NOFIELDTESTING‬

Here is the email contact info for Regents:

I hope that the Spackenkill BOE and admins will join parents and educators to advocate that NYSED stop using our kids and schools as test subjects and guinea pigs! Thank you.


Anna S.

Schools of Thought Hudson Valley, NY

*Please be advised that this piece was updated on 5/17/14 to include arguments regarding 8 NYCRR 100.3 & 100.4, NCLB, APA and other issues by Anna Shah, SOTHVNY  and is a collaboration between Anna Shah and Deborah Abramson Brooks of Port Washington, NY. This piece provides opinion, analysis and information designed to educate readers about field testing but is not to be construed as legal advice. Thanks for reading.



According to our research (confirmed by school lawyers and NYSED), there are no penalties for declining to particpate in the field test although NYSEDs Ken Slentz does send a very stern letter implying that the tests are required. Truth be told, the statute is silent on field tests, NYSED has admitted in writing that they are NOT mandated and there are no penalties for refusing to participate in what amounts to a voluntary “test of the test” program. Districts across the…

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