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Do Not Pick Up the Pencil': New York Parents Coach Kids to Refuse Common Core Tests

“My child would not take a test whose score is not reported to the classroom teacher so it can't help the classroom teacher do her job better."

Common Core, the controversial set of educational standards aimed at firming up students' grasp of math and language, has already attracted criticism from sources both left and right. On the one hand, privacy advocates fret over the program's data mining on students. On the other, teachers complain that the standards are overly rigid and won't lead to a better education system. And now, parents angry over their students being tested on subjects they haven't had time to learn are striking back as well -- by giving their children a truly hands' on lesson in civil disobedience.

WHEC Rochester reports:

 Some parents are really fired up over this. News10NBC talked with parents outside School No. 33 including city school board member Willa Powell. The New York State Education Department says students are obligated to take the state tests, just like any other test and cannot opt out. But parents say they have the ultimate authority when it comes to their kids. They're going to tell their kids to not pick up the pencil and tell the teacher they don't have to take the state test.

Willa Powell, City School Board Member, said, “Guide your child to tell them how they go about refusing. How they go about refusing is simply do not pick up the pencil. Do not put their name on the page and say I don't have to take this test. It's that simple.”

Beth Laidlaw, City School Parent, said, “My child would not take a test whose score is not reported to the classroom teacher so it can't help the classroom teacher do her job better. The scores are not included in the report card grade so it can't hurt the child not to take it. As a parent, as a U.S. citizen, it is wonderful that I am able to coach my child to refuse these tests.”

The station also produced a video report, viewable below:

These instances of civil disobedience may hold back the test's administration, though the extent to which they have that effect will depend on how many students are induced to behave in this fashion. Otherwise, a few students may end up simply failing due to blank tests.

One last thing…
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