Thousands Skip N.Y. Tests, Raising Questions About Evaluations

NEW YORK (AP) - Some New York school districts are reporting that 60 to 70 percent of students did not take this week’s mandated English tests, raising questions about how the growing “opt-out” movement may affect federal funds as well as teacher evaluations that are supposed to be pegged to the tests.

A group called United to Counter the Core, which is critical of the tests, said Thursday that more than 155,000 out of 1.1 million children boycotted the English tests that were administered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Three days of math tests are scheduled for next week.

The opt-out movement grew this year partly because of battles between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and teachers’ unions over how much of a teacher’s annual evaluation should be based on the tests, with Cuomo suggesting test scores should count for 50 percent.

Brooklyn parent Kristen Couse said the tests “are being used to assess our teachers, which I think is ridiculous.”

The state Education Department said the U.S. Department of Education has made it clear that when a district fails to ensure participation in the tests, they must consider sanctions, including, in some cases, funding cuts.