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BPTO wants opt out effects for applying at criteria-based schools to end

WBFO News file photo

The Opt Out movement has returned. Despite some changes and tweaks to standardized English and Math tests, some parents are still planning to opt their children out of tests next week. But WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley tells us, Buffalo Public school students could be jeopardizing their chances of getting into criteria-based schools.  

“Parents who are exercising their right to opt out or who have done that in the past are facing some repercussions,” said Larry Scott, Co-chair of the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization (BPTO). 

The organization and school parents will appear before the Board of Education Wednesday evening. They will present a resolution that calls to prevent the school district from basing a student promotion or placement on standardized assessment performances for those in grades 3rd through 8th.

Scott said it's occurring at City Honors and Olmsted School.

“And what is really concerning to us is that we were told that students at private schools and catholic schools were being treated in the same manner if they didn’t have state assessments, but what we’re are finding is that there are some private school students who have been accepted at City Honors,” said Scott.

Scott points out the Civil Rights Report to Buffalo schools recommends state tests be eliminated for criterion-based schools.

"The BPTO has explicit evidence that BPS students, who did not take state assessments, were scored a zero on the state assessment portion of the admission rubric, with this score of zero counting for a value of 29% at City Honors School and 45% at Fredrick Law Olmsted #156, ultimately disqualifying acceptance for these students. Incongruently, the BPTO has evidence showing private school students, who are not administered state assessments, have not received a score of zero for this criteria and have been accepted into City Honors School," stated the BPTO.

The parent teacher resolution calls on the school board to stop the use of state assessments  in the application process for criterion based-schools and recalculate scores for all students assigned a 'zero' score.

“It indicated that students wouldn’t be disqualified from being accepted, but there would be a lack of a value,” explained Scott.

Meanwhile, Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore is encouraging parents to opt out.

“Parents, I know you value your children’s careers and their happiness and their success in school. Please take a moment to think about whether you want to have your child punished by these tests,” stated Rumore in a WBFO News interview.        

The parent teacher organization will also call on the district to create a 'Sit & Stare' policy for students who opt out. The city school board approved a resolution last year against 'Sit & Stare', however, the District failed to generate a policy. State ELA's begin for third through 8th graders, Tuesday, April 5th. 

The following is the full resolution to be presented to the Buffalo Board of Education Wednesday from the BPTO:

Resolution on Use of State Assessments for Criterion-Based Schools
February 27, 2016

Whereas New York State Law indicates (Sec 305) "that no school district shall make any student promotion or placement decisions based solely or primarily on student performance on state administered standardized ELA and Math Assessments for grades 3 -8”;

Whereas the Civil Rights Project Report to Buffalo Public Schools (Better Choices for Buffalo’s Students: Expanding &  Reforming the Criteria School System, May 2015) recommends for the application process to criterion-based schools, “eliminating the New York state tests because the standards have been changed so drastically and their use is too new to support valid predictions”;

Whereas Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force released a report (December 2015) acknowledging the flawed use of state assessments to evaluate teachers and students and the Board of Regents followed suit voting in support of the recommendations; and

Whereas some Buffalo criterion-based schools continue to use state assessment scores in the application process, and students who did not take the state assessments are recorded a score of zero, with this score of zero included to determine eligibility into a criterion-based school; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO) requests that the Buffalo Buffalo Board of Educationrequire Buffalo Public Schools to:
1. immediately discontinue the use of state assessments from the application process 1. immediately discontinue the use of state assessments from the application process to determine eligibility for criterion-based schools;
2. recalculate scores for all students assigned a score of zero in violation of the regulations stated above for this year’s admissions cycle; and
3. make every effort to obtain missing reports from a child’s criterion profile and not hold the lack of said reports against the student in this process.

Adopted and Submitted by:
Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization (BPTO)