Parents meet to discuss Common Core test refusal

A group of parents against the Common Core met on Tuesday night at Onondaga Community College to talk with other parents about refusing the testing.

"I don't need a state test to tell me that my school is wonderful," said Jennifer Savastino, a parent in the Westhill School District.

Savastino is refusing to let her fourth-grade son take the tests, which begin on April 1.

"If the state can't use the numbers from the test because they don't have high enough participation, then somebody's gotta stand up and say, 'Ok this is wrong. We really need to look at why people don't want it,'" said Savastino. "So the test is really our only voice as a parent."

Some parents are now sending letters to their schools stating that their children will refuse to take the tests in math and English language arts, administered in grades 3-8.

Some parents at the meeting stressed having a problem with not only the testing, but the curriculum and instruction time needed prior to the tests.

"There's curriculum," said Marcellus parent Cheri Lauffer. "And that curriculum is taking up a lot of time...Teachers are kind of teaching to a test. They're teaching kids skills to take a test."

Lauffer said the district's curriculum has significantly changed between her oldest and youngest children, once the Common Core was introduced.

"The focus wasn't on how well they were going to do on a test," said Lauffer. "The education was the education. You did spelling, you did math."

West Genesee School District parent Beth Applegate-Debo is refusing to let her 10-year-old daughter take the tests, and says that the decision will not have any negative consequences.

"In refusing the test, there will be no score," said Applegate-Debo. "It will not affect her. It will not affect the teacher. It will not affect the school district."

The English language arts exam will be given to students from April 1-3. The math test will follow from April 30-May 2.