ALBANY, N.Y., (Jan. 6, 2015) – A bill proposed in the New York legislature would allow certain students to opt out of Common Core Standards and testing, a small step toward nullifying nationalized education in the state.

The law would provide additional backing to some of the hundreds of thousands of New York parents who have already opted their kids out of standardized testing without legal permission.

Sen. George Latimer (D-Port Chester) prefiled Senate Bill 6337 (S6337) for the 2016 session. The legislation allows parents, legal guardians or school districts to opt children with an individualized education program out of the “common core standards” and certain associated testing.

The move would represent a small step toward reestablishing state and local control over New York’s education system.

Last year, over 240,000 students in grades 3-8 refused to take part in New York State’s 2015 Common Core assessments. According to NYS Allies for Public Education, that number will likely double in 2016.

“This fall, parents and students will continue to reject test-prep driven education by submitting their refusal letters on the first day of school.”

These New York parents didn’t wait for the state to act. They took matters into their own hand and started a movement of individual nullification that will make it extremely different to maintain Common Core in New York if it continues to grow, law or no law. However, passage of S.6337 will help their cause.

Common Core was intended to create nationwide education standards. While touted as a state initiative through the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the U.S. Department of Education was heavily involved behind the scenes. Up until recently, the DoE tied the grant of waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to adoption of Common Core, using the standards as powerful strings to influence state educational policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress this month now prohibits the DoE from attempting to “influence, incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the Common Core State Standards … or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States.”

Even with the federal strings cut from Common Core for the time being, it is still imperative for each state to adopt its own standards. The feds can once again use these national standards to meddle in state education at any time if they remain in place. Just as importantly, one-size-fits-all standard simply don’t benefit children. State and local governments should remain in full control of their own educational systems.

Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice and freedom. S6337 would take a small step toward that goal, and possibly set the stage for further action. Ultimately, New York should simply reject Common Core completely and create its own standards that best represent the interests and needs of students in the Empire State.

The legislation will be referred to Senate Education committee when the 2016 legislative session kicks off in early January.

Click HERE for information on Common Core initiatives in your state.

Mike Maharrey

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