The billboards command attention with a simple message — "Parents: Know your rights to opt your children out of state tests."
Yes, testing season is fully upon us again. NYSUT is using traditional and social media to support parents' opt-out rights — in an illustration of the activist agenda established by the newly elected leadership team.
Billboards across the state include a link — nysut.org/optout — to a new fact sheet for parents produced by NYSUT Research and Educational Services.
Placards at downstate bus stops and on street benches share the same message.
A NYSUT Facebook campaign at www.facebook.com/nysutactioncenter states: "Let's clear up some misinformation about the impact of opt outs" and also links to the parent information.
The fact sheet reviews federal requirements for participation in the state assessments and potential consequences of opting out for districts, students and teachers.
Each year misinformation about the impact of opt outs is presented as fact to parents as school officials attempt to convince parents to have their children take the state tests.
The fact sheet is meant to help parents wade through the misinformation and know exactly what they need to do to exercise their option.
The next round of state tests begin the first week of May, with computer-based math tests scheduled May 1–8 and traditional math assessments for grades 3–8 on May 2–4.
"While the new chancellor and new members of the Board of Regents have taken steps to fix the problems with implementation of standards and tests, more changes are needed," said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta.
"NYSUT fully supports the right of parents — and that includes NYSUT members — to choose what is best for their children. Our billboards, bus ads and social media campaign are all helping to spread the word."