Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2015-2016 NYS Refusal Letter - NYS ALLIES for Public Education

2015-2016 NYS Refusal Letter - NYS ALLIES for Public Education:
NYS ALLIES for Public Education

2015-2016 NYS Refusal LetterStudent:   _____________________
School:     ______________________
Teacher:   _____________________
Grade:      ______

 Dear ____________________,

We are writing today to formally inform the district of our decision to refuse to allow our child __________________, to participate in:

______ the 2016 New York State grade 3-8 ELA assessment

______ the 2016 New York State grade 3-8 math assessment

______ any stand alone New York State field testing in the 2015/16 school year (grades 3-12)

______ any local/benchmark assessment 
used in the New York State teacher evaluation system administered in the fall, winter, and spring (may include STAR, AIMSweb, MAP/NWEA, SLO's) in the 2015/16 school year (grades k-12) (excluding spring 2016 middle school local assessments being used as a final grade)*

______ the 2016 grade 4 New York State science assessment

______ the 2016 grade 8 New York State science assessment

Our refusal should in no way reflect on the teachers, administration, or school board. This was not an easy decision for us, but we feel that we have no other choice. We simply see these tests as harmful, expensive, and a waste of time and valuable resources.

We refuse to allow any data to be used for purposes other than the individual teacher’s own formative or cumulative assessment. We are opposed to assessments whose data is used to determine school ranking, teacher effectiveness, or any other purpose other than for the individual classroom teacher’s own use to improve his or her instruction.

We are aware that NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will direct you to talk us out of this decision in an effort to push forward the corporate takeover of public education.  We decline any such meeting or phone call.  Do not contact us for that reason.  To protect yourself, keep this letter as proof to Commissioner Elia that we have declined.  Instead, we invite you to attend an educational seminar detailing the expert research and reasons that have led parents to refuse participation in this harmful testing program.


*an option for local assessments that parents and teachers agree are diagnostically useful, yet used for APPR purposes, could be to participate in the assessment while withholding the student's score from the overall evaluation score.
Download the Letter here:

Download File

                                                  INSTRUCTIONS FOR REFUSAL LETTERS
The first thing you should do before filling out your refusal letter is find out which assessments your district administers that are tied to the evaluation plan (APPR). All teacher, principal, school, and district evaluations use state assessment scores (ELA, math, and science) to generate a score. Many include a separate local assessment as part of the score. Many different assessments can be used for the local part of the evaluation score. Some have always been used and some have been implemented only to satisfy the state requirements. Some are standardized, some computerized, and some are written by teachers. A few have diagnostic value, and many do not. Some parents may want to refuse any assessment tied to evaluations, some may not. Not all districts will honor the request to refuse local assessments. If your child is old enough to refuse on their own, refusals can still be accomplished in those cases. Another option is to allow your child to take the local assessment if the district agrees to withhold the score from the evaluation system. This would ensure authentic administration and scoring for the benefit of the child and classroom teacher. Please read up on the differences, speak to your child's teacher if you are unsure, and make the decision that best fits your child and your family. Refusal letters should go to the school principal. Copies can also be given to the teacher and the superintendent.

APPR - Annual Professional Performance ReviewJust like students, teachers, principals, schools, and districts are given a number grade at the end of every year that represents their effectiveness rating. These scores are used to rank, sort, and punish. Schools can be closed and teachers may lose their jobs or face disciplinary action based on the results.

In addition to state assessments, a portion of the APPR score can be based on local assessments. Local assessments are also called SLO's, and can include MAP, STAR, DIBELS, AIMSweb, and teacher created assessments.** These benchmark assessments are often administered the first week of school.

SLO/Benchmarks - Student Learning Objective
Educators who teach a course that does not have a state exam must use Student Learning Objectives to determine part of their evaluation.  Here is how this process works: Teachers that need to use an SLO must give a pre-assessment (benchmark) to their students.  This exam could be a district, regional or corporate created test that would assess the students in what content and skills the children should obtain at the end of the school year.  Basically it is giving the students an abbreviated version of the final exam.  Almost all the students will score poorly on the pre-assessment because they have not learned the curriculum yet and achieve a low baseline level. After the “pre-assessments” are scored, the districts make a prediction as to how their students will perform on the final assessment of the year. If the teacher does not meet this “expected outcome of performance”, then that educator loses points on his or her evaluation score.

**Some districts have chosen to use assessments that are widely considered to be valuable diagnostic tools, such as the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) and the F&P (Fauntas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment), as their local assessment. Again, the concern is that once an assessment is used to rate a teacher, its diagnostic value decreases. This is a perfect case in which a parent could request to have the test administered, but the score withheld from the evaluation.
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