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Letter from Chancellor Klein to all NYC Principals:

Dear Colleagues,

As you probably know, virtually all of our third grade students attended school the day of the English language arts test last week. And nearly 100% attended for today's citywide math test. The ELA test received plenty of media coverage; however, much of it was based on or in response to serious misinformation generated by those who oppose the test and what they label "high stakes testing."

In my opinion, our third graders were treated badly by the anti-test "activists" who obtained and shared the test with the media or spread misinformation about it, and also by those who used the 2003 test to prepare students for this year's test, whatever their motives. The public deserves accurate information in the important debate about our education policies. And our children deserve a test-taking environment free from self-serving or inflammatory rhetoric.

So let me take a minute to address the misinformation. First, the citywide ELA test is a valid, reliable assessment of our third grade students' knowledge and skills. It does NOT, as some claim, include questions that are racially biased. It does NOT include items which "favor" specific groups. It is NOT designed to fail some children at the bottom of a scoring curve. And the repetition of some questions from the prior year does NOT in any way invalidate its reliability as a measure of student preparedness for advanced work at the next grade level. On the contrary, this practice helps ensure that our tests are consistently reliable. With the great turn-out on test day last Tuesday, and during the first day of make-up testing on Wednesday, nearly all of our third-graders took the test before copies were distributed to the media by irresponsible individuals. Therefore, for most of the children, the test was not compromised.

We will give another form of the ELA test to students who could not take it in make-up because of its distribution to the media by a group called "Time Out From Testing." We will give parents of the few students who may have unwittingly practiced on passages from the test the option to take a new test or to have their original test scored without the carry-over items.

We will begin contacting the parents of affected students early next week to ask them to select the option they prefer. The ELA retest for those who need it will be held Wednesday, May 12.

An investigation of how the test was obtained by "Time Out From Testing" is underway. We await the conclusion of the investigation to determine what actions might be appropriate.

We are looking into a few reports that copies of last year's citywide ELA were not returned last year, and were instead used for practice this year. If you are aware of any other instances like this, please let us know. If true, this obviously was done contrary to our long-established and frequently communicated test procedures. If the investigation shows that school staff knowingly violated DOE test procedures, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. Our primary focus must remain on the children. We are committed to continued progress on the reforms necessary to put the Children First in our public school system. As our experience with this test confirms, reform will be resisted by some who would preserve the status quo, ineffective as it might have been for vast numbers of our students. I will rely on each and every one of you not to allow such incidents to distract you from the genuine progress we are making with your help and that of teachers, coaches, parents and parent coordinators. Keep up the great work.

Joel Klein

Read more important documents

Red Alert!
Let's Opt Out of the April 2014 NYS Tests

Parents can refuse to allow their child to take the State high stakes tests. Hand in this letter to your principal [other formats: .pdf .odt .doc]. En Español: [otros formatos: .pdf .odt .doc] Send your child to school and ask that an alternative activity be planned for him/her during the 6 days of testing.

Information for Parents who want to Opt Out:

Feel free to duplicate these flyers and give them to other parents!

We also have a magazine explaining Common Core, High Stakes Testing, and InBloom to parents. Varios artículos de esta revista fueron traducidos a Español.

Opt Out New York
New material to support the April Boycott.
Please share this Powerpoint!
Developed by a Long Island parent.

Join the TOFT mailing list:

Did You Know?
Did you know that charter schools in New York City enroll fewer students who qualify for free lunch and fewer homeless students?

Music Video: "Not on the Test"
Produced by: Public School Test Records and Grammy Award-winner Tom Chapin

produced by Naava Katz Design