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NYS and local PTAs are looking forward to state budget season as the New Year gets underway in a few weeks. Look for announcements about meetings with local legislators and other opportunities to advocate for fair school funding.

Being an advocate

NYS Assessment Opt-Outs - The Facts

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of the word advocate is " plead the cause of another...; to support or promote the interests of another." It comes from the Latin advocatus, from past participle of advocare: to summon; from ad- + vocare: to call, from voc-, vox voice. An advocate is one who is the voice for others. In the case of SOCES PTA, we are the voice for our students, our parents, our teachers, our administrators.

In the past several years, SOCES PTA has worked tirelessly to ensure policymakers are hearing your voice. By organizing letter writing campaigns, inviting state elected representatives to listen to you, attending Board of Education and Region PTA meetings, and by representing you on SOCSD district-level committees, we advocate. Our participation affects change. We make a difference.

We encourage you to be an advocate, to be a voice. Studies have proved that parent engagement positively impacts student performance, school performance and teacher morale.

It seems we are always bombarded with information about standardized testing, over-testing, field testing, and more. Many parents are asking about opting out. Here are the facts:

Federal law requires states to administer tests in ELA and math in grades 3-8 and science in grade 4. This is addressed in NYS law requiring school districts to administer any exams required by the Commissioner of Education.

There is no legal vehicle for opting-out, but parents have kept their children home during testing or provided the school with written notification of the student's refusal to take a test.

Parents have no legal "right" to keep their children from taking the state assessments, per a Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

A school district's status and its ability to meet "Annual Yearly Progress" under Federal law could be affected depending on the number of students opting out.

Parents must submit a written letter to the school administrator advising of a child's refusal to take the ELA and/or math assessment(s). If a student refuses to, SOCSD will not make a student "sit and stare" but will remove the students to an alternative location where the student can read, write, or draw. NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES ARE ALLOWED.

For more information, visit the NYS Allies for Public Education website

Elected Representatives

Web Sites of Interest

New York State

Governor Andrew Cuomo: 


Facebook: GovernorAndrewCuomo

Twitter: @NYGovCuomo 

State Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee


Facebook: Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee

Twitter: @EllenCJaffee

State Senator David Carlucci


Facebook: David Carlucci 

Twitter: @DavidCarlucci