Karen Magee, the president of New York State United Teachers — the largest teachers union in the state — urged for a mass opt-out of Common Core testing on Monday, sparking criticism from advocates of the standardised testing.
“I think educators calling for kids to opt out are being irresponsible, Stephen Sigmund, Executive Director of High Achievement New York, a nonprofit coalition of business and education groups, told Business Insider.
The Common Core tests are necessary to assess how the higher standards are working and combat the decades-long achievement gap that has plagued New York students, according to Sigmund.
Sigmund also said that they are an important measure of how the multibillion-dollar investment that state tax payers contribute to public schools is actually paying off.
Magee, for her part, claimed that the tests are not “valid indicators of student progress” and that they exist only to punish teachers, according to the New York Daily News, which reported on her appearance on upstate public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom.”
Diagnostic tests conducted by teachers are an alternative and one she sees as more beneficial to students and teachers, she said.
Critics — including Merryl Tisch, the Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents — fear encouraging parents to opt out of Common Core testing could result in the loss of federal funds to schools and districts who don’t hit 95% participation levels. This poses a more dire problem if schools who receive Title 1 funding — federal supplemental funding for at-risk and low-income students — don’t hit participation requirements.