One of the Business Council of Westchester’s top legislative priorities is raising educational standards to prepare New York’s future workforce. Towards that end, the BCW in partnership with The Coalition of High Achievement New York has urged the New York State Education Department to release test participation numbers as soon as they are available.
In a letter to NYS Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia and the New York State Board of Regents on May 16, the coalition stated:
“Increased participation in the grades 3-8 assessment is an important development for New York’s families, and it deserves to be reported as soon as possible. The state has been deemed the ‘epicenter’ of opt out organizing, but the hard work the Commissioner, the Board of Regents and advocates have done to improve both the assessments themselves and the information provided to parents has clearly built greater confidence in the tests. Moreover, as the only universal, objective assessments that all public school students around the state take, increased participation in the tests is a vital link in ensuring greater educational fairness and equity.”
Early data collected by the media from around the state indicates that test participation increased significantly from last year, the letter noted. Newsday reported that test refusals were down from 53.6% in 2017 to 46.7% in 2018. Likewise, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported that all 11 districts that responded to their inquiry showed increased test participation.
The BCW joined in signing the letter along with numerous groups throughout the state, including The Business Council of New York State.