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Advocates: Stop Standardized Tests for NY’s Youngest Pupils

PHOTO: Parents and teachers are calling for a ban on standardized testing in New York's public schools from the pre-K years to second grade. Photo credit: Wikihow.org.
PHOTO: Parents and teachers are calling for a ban on standardized testing in New York's public schools from the pre-K years to second grade. Photo credit: Wikihow.org.
November 15, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. - Controversy over the proliferation of standardized tests in New York's public schools reached a new level Thursday as parents, educators and teachers' unions held a news conference to call for a ban on testing the state's youngest pupils. Whether they're administered on computer screens or on paper, where children have to fill in a "bubble" to answer, Michael Mulgrew of New York City's teachers union said, the standardized tests should not be given to kids from preschool to second grade.

"I think it's a little absurd that we're here calling for this ban, because we did not think anyone would ever think it would be appropriate to standardize-test children, many of whom can't even hold a pencil," he declared.

According to Peter DeWitt, principal at Poestenkill Elementary School, testing is getting out of hand.

"It's ridiculous that we're even talking about this from pre-K through second grade," he said. "And I've been very outspoken about the fact that we need to do a moratorium on it for third grade through fifth grade as well."

Jeannine Smith, who teaches first grade on Long Island, said testing takes time that could be better used for instruction and learning.

"The time that we spend on the standardized testing in the pre-K through second grade is just ludicrous," Smith pronounced. "It sometimes can take a half a day to get through one test."

Angelica Rivera, a parent of pre-school kids and an activist, also blasted the testing trend.

"Standardized testing at such a young age is a scary thing," she said. "It's just not appropriate. It's truly stressful for a child, let alone a four-year-old."

In a statement, the state Department of Education said it agrees, and that there are no such tests administered or required by the state. It says "decisions about how to measure student progress in pre-K through Grade 2 are made by local school districts."



Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY