Dimino Refuses to Administer State Tests

PJSTA President Beth Dimino has notified the Comsewogue School District that she is refusing to administer state tests this spring.

Via the Long Island Press…

“I find myself at a point in the progress of education reform in which clear acts of conscience will be necessary to preserve the integrity of public education,” she writes. “I can no longer implement policies that seek to transform the broad promises of public education into a narrow obsession with the ranking and sorting of children.

“I will not distort curriculum in order to encourage students to comply with bubble test thinking,” continues her letter. “I can no longer, in good conscience, push aside months of instruction to compete in a state-wide ritual of meaningless and academically bankrupt test preparation. I have seen clearly how these reforms undermine teachers’ love for their profession and undermine students’ intrinsic love of learning.”

Dimino hopes other local educators will follow her lead and oppose subjecting their students to the tests by refusing to administer them.

“The next logical step has to be the movement of conscientious objectors,” she tells the Press. “I believe, and I said this to [New York State Education Commissioner John] King and [state Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl] Tisch and [state] Senator [John] Flanagan at the Three Village Rally [in November 2013], that this is child abuse. I believe that it is child abuse. I believe that giving these tests to my students makes me culpable in the abuse of children and I can no longer do that.”

Dr. Rella supports and respects her decision.

“I have known Beth for over 20 years,” he says. “This was not something she has done lightly. There was a lot of soul searching that went on and she said to me, as a matter of conscience, she cannot participate. She cannot proctor this test. And I support that.”

To help clarify this, she’s also putting forth a proposal before the New York State United Teachers Federation (NYSUT) asking that all teachers who have school age children refuse to let them take the exams.

This resolution, which Dimino co-authored, passed her union unanimously, she says, and will be brought to the NYSUT general assembly meeting in April, and aims to coordinate local teachers unions across the state in opting their children out of the tests in solidarity.

Be sure to read the full article at the Long Island Press.  More to come on this.

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