A press conference was held earlier this week regarding the Common Core Parental Refusal Act, legislation that would require schools in New York State to notify parents of their right to refuse standardized Common Core testing for their children.
The bill (A.6025/S.4161) was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco who has said he believes that “New York is wasting too much time and money stressing children out to prepare for these tests.”
During the press conference, Assemblyman Al Graf spoke of a particular Common Core forum that he attended, and the words of one teacher that helped motivate him to help parents fight back against the testing.
Mert Melfa reports that Graf was speaking about Kirstin Vivacqua, a teacher who helped a special needs boy that grew so frustrated with the Common Core testing that he began stabbing himself with a pencil.
Melfa managed to clip Graf’s comments together with the actual testimony given by Vivacqua two years ago. The story is gut-wrenching. (Vivacqua’s testimony begins at 2:03.)
Graf called it “the saddest story I’ve ever heard.”
Vivacqua, a Parlimentarian for the Utica Teacher’s Association, said she took the pencil from the student and told him just “do the best you can, and it’s not going to matter. It’s not important.”
By consoling her clearly frustrated student, Vivacqua said “I became a teacher again, instead of just an administrator for a test.”
Tedisco hopes to get over 200,000 parents to refuse Common Core testing for their children in an attempt to “stall” the process and “at least reform the testing part of it.” Last year, 60,000 students were opted out of the testing.
The Common Core Parental Refusal Act will prevent schools and teachers from being penalized based on the number of students who opt out. Students will neither be punished or rewarded based on their participation, or lack thereof, in the standardized testing.
The Mental Recession recently reported on two New York teachers who have vowed themselves to opt out of Common Core testing, with one hoping such actions would implode the system, while the other simply refused to set her students up for failure.
Last year, reports indicated that the number of kids opting out was having an effect on schools, with participation rates putting districts on peril of losing federal grant money.
The Common Core Parental Refusal Act currently has bipartisan support, and Tedisco has announced that several new sponsors have jumped on board.
Cross-posted at the Mental Recession