Monday, April 18, 2016

Just How White is Opt-Out?

Opt Out Long Island is jubilantly tweeting about soaring test refusal rates on the North Fork. the peninsula on the northeast part of Suffolk County. According to the paper Riverhead Local,
The grassroots movement to protest the testing continues to gain steam locally and is reflected in the growing numbers of parents who have opted their children out of taking the controversial tests. Each year since 2014 the total number of students in North Fork districts who have opted out of taking the tests has increased. In 2014, for example, 219 students refused to sit for the test. That number increased to 1,205 in 2015 and 1,442 in 2016.
Whoa! Worth unpacking a bit, especially on the heels of this past weekend’s  Network for Public Education 2016 conference which featured panels like “Testing Resistance and Reform” and “Opt Out: Conscientious Objectors.”

Let’s look at the demographics of those North Fork districts that NPE and other allies salute:

  • Greenport Union Free: 3,735 white students; 193 black students
  • Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free: 9,157 white students; 251 black students; 562 Hispanic students
  • Oysterponds Union Free: 1,565 white students; 3 black students; 63 Hispanic students
  • Riverhead Central: 30,862 white students; 5,056 black students; 6,641 Hispanic students
  • Southhold Union Free: 6.127 white students; 130 black students; 153 Hispanic students

The highest rates on the North Fork were in Greenport (65%) and Southhold (55%) which, coincidentally, have the lowest percentages of minority students. But opt-out isn’t white, right?

Right.

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