Tens of Thousands of New York Students Refuse Tests

Don't worry, they're "meaningless," says Governor Cuomo


United to Counter the Core

In New York, where a full-fledged rebellion against Common Core-based standardized testing is underway, about 17 percent of students have reportedly refused the English Language Arts exam, and similar numbers for the Math exam are still flowing in. Considering that participation is technically mandatory, that's an impressive sign of grassroots resistance to both the controversial standards and the tests intended to measure progress toward their implementation.

Over 80,000 students have refused to take this week's Math exam, with just 22.5 percent of the state's school districts reporting, according to United to Counter the Core—with numbers piling up fast enough that the group's Facebook page triumph-o-graphics can't keep pace. Last week's English Language Arts Exam racked up over 191,000 refuseniks from the roughly 76 percent of districts that have reported their status.

About 1.1 million were expected to take the exam.

Pressed for a reaction to the boycott, which is fueled by allegations that Common Core is rigid and age-inappropriate, and that the tests are excessive, Governor Andrew Cuomo chose to split the difference in characteristic style, by minimizing both the importance of the schooling standards to which his state government (like most) has committed, as well as belittling objections to the same.

"My position was, the department of education had not done a good job in introducing the Common Core, and they had rushed it, so we said, for a period of five years, the test scores won't count," Cuomo told reporters. "So they can opt out if they want to, but on the other hand, if the child takes the test as practice, then the score doesn't count anyway."

"The grades are meaningless to the student," he added, not exactly shoring up the argument for committing time and effort to filling in ovals on a sheet of paper.

Former U.S. senator from New York, and current presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton went a step further last week, referring to education as a "non-family enterprise."

So… Maybe parents and students have no business raising a fuss, in her view.