New York State officials say 60,000 students opted out of the controversial Common Core Standardized testing in 2014. A new bill introduced Tuesday in Albany called the "Common Core Parental Refusal Act" hopes to substantially increase that number. Jon Dougherty explains why some call it the first step to transforming the state's education system.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Megan Beauchamp is a parent of two young children in the Capital Region school district of Scotia-Glenville. She said her oldest daughter Grace, a fifth grader, will not be taking standardized tests any time soon.
"She came home and she said, 'That was hard, I don't feel smart.' She reads a lot, she loves to read and she reads at a very high reading level," Beauchamp said.
Tim Farley, an Elementary School Principal at Ichabod Crane in Valatie, N.Y., has four children who won't be taking the tests either.
"I refused two years ago, last year (2014) and my kids will not be taking the test this year," Farley said.
Beauchamp and Farley are among the thousands of parents across New York who have decided to opt out of Common Core standardize tests.
"We do have the right to make decisions on our children's education," Beauchamp said.
Both were joined by fellow parents, school administrators, and lawmakers at the State Capitol in Albany Tuesday for the introduction of the "Common Core Parental Refusal Act." The bill would require school districts notify parents of students in grades 3 through 8, of their opt out rights.
"This is not only reaching into everyone's house, everyone's community. We have to fix it," said Sen. Terrence Murphy, R - Jefferson Valley, a sponsor of the bill.
The legislation is sponsored by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly. Assembly sponsor, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R- Glenville, admitted the bill wouldn't stop Common Core learning standards, but hopes it will slow it's implementation.
"Starve the beast so we could have a discussion, have a voice, go back to the drawing board and move forward in a positive way," Tedisco said.
Another sponsor, Assemblyman Michael Kearns, D- Buffalo said, "It's bad for tax payers because it's very costly to administer these tests. It's bad for teachers because there's no innovation left."
Lawmakers hope the bill gives parents more stake in the controversial issue.
"What this bill does is it codifies what we already know, that parents have the right to make the decisions of what's best for their children," Farley said.
"We need to push the issue a little bit as parents," said Beauchamp. "If we want to see change, we need to be the change and, for me, that's refusing the test."
The sponsors said there is no penalty for opting out for students, teachers or school districts.
The Common Core Parental Refusal Act was sent to the Senate and Assembly's Education Committees. Lawmakers hope to pass it before the next round of testing in April.
To read the full bill go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/.