Provides for a parent to choose to opt their student out of the grade three through eight English language arts and math state assessments, and requires the commissioner of education to provide notice to parents of such right.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A7744A
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the education law, in relation to opting out of certain
The purpose of this bill is to ensure school districts notify parents of
students via written communication in grades three through eight that
such students may refuse to participate in all state. testing or high-
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 is the short title.
Section 2 amends Section 305 of the Education Law by adding a new Subdi-
vision 51-b. The commissioner would be required to ensure that school
districts notify parents of students in grades three through eight,
either by email and/or mailed letter, that such students may refuse to
participate in all state testing or high-stakes testing. Such notifica-
tion shall be given no sooner than thirty school days and no later than
seven school days before the scheduled administration of such testing.
This legislation ensures and outlines a universal notification method be
posted on school district websites as well as a universal method for
parental response. Students that do not participate in state testing or
high-stakes testing would be scored as "refusal", rather than "absent",
in accordance with the student information repository system. Students
that do not participate in such testing shall continue to receive a free
and appropriate public education in their regular classroom environment
during the administration of all makeup test periods.
This legislation would also prohibit punitive measures for test refusal
A particular district in the form of withheld state aid;
A particular school within a district for low participation rates;
A teacher or consideration when evaluating a teacher's performance; or
A student, nor a reward for those students who do participate in such
Punitive measures include, but are not limited to, threats of repeating
a school grade, mandating after school attendance, mandating summer
school attendance or any negative academic impact as a result of a
student's refusal to participate in any state testing or any other high-
Students that do not participate in state testing or high-stakes testing
will be provided alternate educational activity at such times these
tests are being administered. Those students. cannot be placed in a
testing room or environment during scheduled state testing.or high-
stakes testing times or makeup times: Parents must be informed of such
alternative educational activity upon request and it is not a require-
ment. that parents meet with a school district for the student to refuse
to participate in testing or be provided with an alternate educational
Additionally, school districts would be prohibited from soliciting or
encouraging students to opt-out of state testing or high-stakes testing,
and that any written request by a parent or legal guardian to excuse
their child from taking such exams must be granted.
"High-stakes testing" shall mean testing where the results of such tests
are used by the commissioner, board of education, or school district to:
(1) determine a student's admission to a public school or program; (2)
evaluate the performance of a teacher or school administrator; or (3)
categorize a school as high-performing, performing, low-performing,
underperforming, needing improvement, or failing.
Section 3 establishes the effective date.
Parents and teachers have expressed concern over the direction testing
of our children has taken in New York State and in particular in regards
to how testing is being applied along with the high stakes associated
with the results of such tests. These state tests and high-stakes tests
have been widely considered a fatally flawed proxy for genuine evalu-
This bill codifies that parents receive proper notification of their
rights as it relates to refusing to have their children participate in
any state tests or high-stakes testing.
More importantly, it protects school districts, individual schools,
teachers, and students alike from facing any withholding of funds, state
takeovers, sanctions, negative impact on a teacher's evaluation, or any
other punitive measures associated with the outcomes related to test
2017-2018: S.2091 - Referred to Education/A.7084 - Referred to Education
2015-2016: S.4161-A - Amend and recommit to Education/A.6025-A - Held
for consideration in Education
None to the State, minimal to school districts.
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2019-2020 Regular Sessions
May 17, 2019
Introduced by M. of A. EPSTEIN, SANTABARBARA, SIMON, D'URSO, CARROLL,
REILLY, RA, DeSTEFANO, BURKE, FRONTUS, JAFFEE, BRONSON, RAMOS, JOHNS
-- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. DE LA ROSA, LENTOL, THIELE -- read
once and referred to the Committee on Education -- committee
discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
to said committee
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to opting out of certain
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Section 305 of the education law is amended by adding a new
2 subdivision 60 to read as follows:
3 60. a. The commissioner shall ensure that school districts provide
4 notice to parents of students in grades three through eight of the
5 parent's right to opt their student out of the grade three through eight
6 English language arts and math state assessments. Such notice shall be
7 developed by the department, written in clear and concise language and
8 translated in the six most common languages in the state. The notice
9 shall be made available on the department's website.
10 b. The commissioner shall ensure that school districts provide parents
11 of students in grades three through eight with the notice pursuant to
12 paragraph a of this subdivision. Such notification shall be given no
13 later than thirty days after the start of the school year.
14 c. The school district shall honor a parent's decision to exercise
15 their right to opt their student out of the grade three through eight
16 English language arts and math state assessments. The school district
17 shall be prohibited from taking punitive measures against a student
18 whose parent has chosen to opt their student out of the grades three
19 through eight English language arts and math state assessments.
20 d. Any violation of this subdivision may be subject to an appeal to
21 the commissioner.
22 § 2. This act shall take effect on the first of July next succeeding
23 the date on which it shall have become a law.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.