“My child is not a test score,” said P.S. 69 parent Danny Katch. "He loves art, music, and gym. Those subjects are important, too. Why are we concentrating only on the ELA and math? It's ridiculous and academically dishonest to not look at the whole child. I refuse to let my child be used in this way."
Although parents have the right to pull their children from the test, the schools are required to offer an alternative testing measure to ensure the student is proficient in the subject.
Councilman Daniel Dromm, chair of the City Council Education Committee, joined several parents to protest the test and encourage other parents to also opt out in the future.
"The tests are a snapshot of where a child may be academically at a certain period of time, but there are so many other variables that influence a child's academic performance,” Dromm said. “Using only high-stakes tests to evaluate children is wrong. We need to look at children holistically. A child should not be seen as only a test score."
Dromm said he is confident that other parents and teachers would also agree that the tests are unfair, adding that the governor has long been a proponent of the tests as a way to to evaluate students, teachers, and principals.
"These tests were never intended to be used this way," Dromm said. "Many parents citywide agree with me and have begun to opt their children out of the tests. This may not be the choice that every parent makes, but is certainly one which I respect."
Dudley Stewart, a parent of a third grade student at P.S. 69, also kept his child from taking the test.
"My son wrote that his New Year’s resolution was to pass the reading test,” Stewart said. “He has been worried sick since then.”
As his son has spent countless hours preparing for the test throughout the school year, Stewart said he hopes pulling him from the test would relieve his stress and help create some voice for change.
“I don't want my child or any child to have to go through this type of pressure,” he said. “There are many other ways the schools can and should evaluate my child."