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Students are the ones paying for adult decisions

The past few weeks have been wrought with parents exercising their supposed right to opt their children out of New York State assessments. They campaigned feverishly to get their message out, using lawn signs and fliers to influence the masses. This civil disobedience campaign to manipulate children will continue in the coming weeks as this group faces up to the New York State math assessment.

Meanwhile, school districts had to make on-the-fly decisions on how to accommodate those who opted out. I’m sure many people have read of the whole “sit and stare” debate recently. It is truly a confusing time in schools as administrators, teachers, parents and students argue their perspectives. But, they did it. Thousands of kids got to tell their teachers to stick it. In the meantime, Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. sits in Albany assuring those around him that the scores won’t count.

This begs the question then of what’s next? Do stakeholders in schools have to remain at odds with each other, fighting for their own crusade? Will testing be eliminated? Will New York State cut its ties with its teacher accountability to testing? If not, this continuous wave will never cease.

The sad part in all of this is that our children are at the center of this very heated debate. There is no word from either King or the Board of Regents that has indicated a change. Maybe most concerning, will our children’s schools now not qualify for funding as a penalty for opting out and not making required 95 percent participation?

In the meantime, all of the people who care about our children will continue to squabble over what is best for them while the decision makers go on about their day, seemingly uncaring about the future.

Scott Dunkle

Buffalo