REGENTS: Reject proposals to punish schools when parents opt out
Earlier this year, New York’s state education department proposed a set of regulations which would punish schools simply because parents exercised their legal rights to refuse state exams on behalf of their children. The state’s Board of Regents, which must approve all such regulations, voted to reject a few of the regulations outright. One, shockingly, required schools to spend federal dollars earmarked for the support of the state’s most vulnerable children on campaigns to persuade parents to “opt in” to test participation. Another called for the conversion of public schools to charter schools if those schools showed a persistent non-participation rate of more than five percent. (For reference, in 2017 more than 90% of the state’s districts had non-participation rates exceeding 5%.)
While that rejection was a step in the right direction, the Commissioner’s remaining proposals have been re-submitted for public comment, which ends November 2. The Regents will vote on those regulations once again in coming months. Like the earlier proposals, the remainder do nothing to advance our children’s educations or improve the quality of our schools. In addition, they are grossly inequitable. If you commented on the initial set of regulations, please comment again--your voice made a difference! If you didn’t comment that time, now’s your chance!