English Language Arts and Math testing begins this week across the state . A Queens City Council member wants to remind parents that students can opt out..  NY1's Gene Apodaca was at a rally in Jackson Heights and has more.


With English Language Arts and Math testing scheduled to begin Tuesday for students across the state, Queens Councilman Daniel Dromm wants parents to know they have a choice.

“Parents have the right to opt their kids out of high stakes standardized tests,“ said Dromm speaking at rally outside PS 69 in Jackson Heights.

Dromm says state testing, was originally intended to assess academic development.

Now, he says it’s being used by state and federal education officials inappropriately – as a way to assess schools, grade students and their teachers.

It’s why Aura Collado opted out for both of her daughters.

“I don’t feel that kids should be tested in order for the teacher to get some kind of grading,” said Collado.

Parents say they’re not necessarily against tests but they say there are

other ways to measure a student’s success.

“You can have portfolios, you can have unit tests you can have projects, “ said Amanda Vender with Jackson Heights People for Public Schools.

A spokesperson for the department of education said,  "We believe that multiple measures, including classwork, course grades and projects are essential when evaluating students.”

Adding, “The State has made important changes to these exams that address legitimate concerns from families including fewer questions and unlimited time as long as students are working productively.”   

They argue, “It is important for students to take these assessments to ensure we’re on the right track and improve instruction

D-O-E data does show an increase, in recent years, among students opting out.   Dromm says, those numbers would be even higher, if the

D-O-E  would better inform parents.

"We have already passed a resolution unanimously that means democrats and republicans voted in favor of informing parents we've asked the

Department of Education to abide by that resolution unfortunately they have done so yet," said the council member.

A DOE official pointed out an online family guide does mention the option, but, some argue the post is confusing and unclear.