J-D Parent tells daughter to refuse to take state common core tests
Jessica Sicherman picked up her third grade daughter Cora from Tecumseh Elementary School Wednesday afternoon, right before her classmates started sharpening their pencils for the controversial state common core testing.
"I understand we want to raise the bar so that all kids can meet certain levels and that's a good idea, but how they're going about it is wrong," says Sicherman.
Sicherman isn't alone. Hundreds of other parents across the country don't want their children to take the tests, but her reasons are as much for the teachers as they are for her kids.
"The test themselves are being used to evaluate teachers and the tests weren't made for that and testing experts will say they're really poor measures of teacher performance," says Sicherman.
In New York state, there is no "opt out" option. If a student refuses to take the test, he or she will simply be recorded as not tested. Any action beyond that is left up to the local school district.
From Jamesville-Dewitt to North Syracuse it's an issue many superintendents are dealing with. Superintendent for North Syracuse Central School District, Kim Dyce-Faucette says she's evaluating a response with her staff.
"At this point, if a student refuses to take the test there's nothing we can do at the immediate to address that issue," says Dyce-Faucette.
It could cost the school and students in the long run because 95% of students in the school must take the test or state funding could be cut.
"To be in a position where our state funding could be put in jeopardy is not a position we want to be in," says Dyce-Faucette.
The district's Executive Director of Data and Accountability, Donna Marie Norton, says the students who don't take the tests aren't only hurting their fellow classmates, they're hurting themselves.
"It's used as a diagnostic for the program and the curriculum and the instruction and if students don't take the test then we lose the ability to diagnose those issues. I'm not saying it's the best test I've ever seen in my life, it's not," says Norton.
Sicherman says the test is trying to do the teacher's job.
"One of the arguments that people give at the state level is we need to know where your child stands. If my child's teacher doesn't know where my child stands by the end of the year then we have a bigger problem," says Sicherman.
Ultimately, Sicherman says it's important to spread a message.
"We're not against testing by any means but the direction of education and the incredible increase and scope of the testing," says Sicherman.
When it comes to these tests, Sicherman and several other parents want their kids to put their pencils down for good.