Brooklyn Schools, Heeding Opt-Out Advocates Advice, Lose Honor and Money

Here's the "BOTTOM LINE" from the-anti-accountability group New York State Allies for Public Education:
A school district does NOT lose funding if there is less than 95% participation on state tests. 
Here's yesterday's article from the Brooklyn paper DNAInfoNewYork:
The state has penalized 16 high-performing city schools — potentially costing them each up to $75,000 in grant money — because of their exam opt-out rates,
NYSAPE and other opt-out groups, along with their deities Diane Ravitch, Carol Burris,, regularly reassure acolytes that refusing standardized tests for their children comes with no sanctions, including not meeting the federally-mandated 95% participation rate for each school. Ravitch, for example, tells readers,
The movement to opt out of state testing is spreading in Néw York. State leaders are threatening parents and schools with loss of funding; teachers are threatened with disciplinary action if they encourage parents. 
Some better advice for parents who care about children, their own and others less privileged: take off those Ravitch-colored glasses and accept that standardized tests, aligned with common-sense course standards, serve important purposes for gauging school effectiveness and student proficiency. The penalties for refusal can be superficially quantified in lost grants but more profoundly in lost information that helps administrators, teachers, and parents gauge school effectiveness and student proficiency.

Meanwhile back in Brooklyn, continues the local paper, "these schools were on track to win recognition from the state as 'Reward Schools' — an annual honor that makes schools eligible to apply for grants — but were not included in the list because they failed to meet a 95 percent participation rate on the exams, state education officials confirmed. " Most of these schools are in tony parts of Brooklyn like Park Slope and Windsor Terrace. One school, however, PS 10, has 60% of students eligible for free and reduced lunch, and that $75K won't be so quickly redeemed through local parent and foundation fundraising.

This loss should be unsurprising. In March, before standardized testing began, the NYC Department of Education issued a FAQ sheet that explained, "schools that do not meet the participation rate criteria are not eligible to be considered 'Reward school' status, which highlights schools identified as demonstrating high performance or high progress relative to other schools in the State." When these Brooklyn schools failed to make the 95% participation benchmark, they lost their "Reward" school designation and the $75K that came with it.

In all fairness, I understand the confusion. Over the last year New York State's stance on equity and accountability has shifted from heroic to vapid. The mixed signals sent lately from the constellation of the Board of Regents, the Governor's Office, UFT leaders, Chancellor Carmen Farina, and Mayor Bill de Blasio are as inscrutable as a Jackson Pollock painting.

If there's a "BOTTOM LINE," that's it.

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