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Parents Organize School-by-School Boycott of June Field Tests From Pearson

Susan Notes:

I dream of the day teachers refuse to give the test--en masse. I never advocate for individual teachers to martyr themselves (though I hold close to my heart three who stood tall all by themselves and did this. I would add that none of them lost his job and none suffered serious consequences).

NOTE: Parents can go to any of the sites below and download boycott letters and find more information.



For immediate release

May 23 2012

Press Contact:

Martha Foote: 347-967-8159


Parents Organize School-by-School Boycott of June Field Tests From Pearson

New York City â A coalition of parent organizations across New York is urging parents to boycott the âstand-aloneâ field tests scheduled for middle and elementary schools in New York State.

From June 5th to June 12th, children in over a thousand schools in New York City alone are being forced to give up another day of education in order to serve the research purposes of billion-dollar test publisher Pearson.

The Pearson field tests come right on the heels of last monthâs state-mandated English Language Arts (ELA) and math exams, tests that were twice as long as those given in previous years--largely because they contained embedded field-test items.

"Enough is enough," said Dani Gonzalez, a parent from one of the boycotting schools. âWe are sick of all these tests. We want more teaching and less testing.â

A "Boycott the Field Tests" campaign, coordinated by parent advocacy groups like Time Out From Testing, Change The Stakes, and ParentVoicesNY, has parents across New York State organizing letter-writing actions within their schools to let their principals know that they refuse to permit their children to take the test.

"The State Education Department never notified us about these tests," said Emily Schnee, who has sons in a grade that has been selected for field testing. "No one asked our consent to use our children for research purposes."

"Let Pearson pay for its own product development," said Adam Grumbach, a Brooklyn parent. "We are cutting vital services in our schools, and all our resources are going into testing." Last year Pearson, which has a $32-million-dollar contract with the New York State Education Department, made $800 million dollars in its North American Education division alone.

News of the boycott is starting to spread among parents, not only throughout New York City, but throughout the State, in cities such as Nyack and Rochester. Organizers are recommending that parents not keep their children home from school, but instead request from the principal an alternative activity. "Our message is we want more education for our kids -- not more wasting of their time," said Manhattan parent Anne Stone.

Since opting-out of the stand-alone field tests will have no negative consequences for parents or schools (as opposed to April's tests), parents see this boycott as an opportunity to communicate the widespread resentment public school parents feel towards the untrammeled growth of high-stakes standardized testing.

"More and more, state testing determines what children learn in school, how teachers teach, and even whether or not teachers will remain in the classroom." said Sonia Murrow, a 5th grade parent in Brooklyn. "We want a rich curriculum for our children, not teaching to the test."

Parents have been especially upset recently as they learned about the poor quality of this year's state tests, including the infamous "Pineapple and the Hare" question. They are further enraged that Pearson and the state refuse to make the tests public, as they were in the past. Lisa Edstrom, parent of a 3rd grader in Brooklyn, contends, "The proponents of high-stakes testing always talk about accountability -- but who's holding Pearson and the State accountable?"

On June 5, the first day of the stand-alone field testing period, NY public school parents plan to have a press conference to make a comprehensive statement about the boycott.

For more information on how to opt-out your child from the field tests, go to these websites:




Organizations supporting this boycott include:


Time Out From Testing

Change the Stakes

Restore Education Funding -- Nyack/Valley Cottage

Public Education Matters

— Press Release
Parent advocacy groups


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