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Parents say their kids took tests – and they are happy with decision

Some parents said no.

But many said OK. Business as usual.

A few even wondered about what sort of lessons kids might be learning from all this.

In an emotional week of controversial school testing that saw many families in Western New York choose not to have their children take state tests, many other parents allowed and encouraged their children to take the exams.

“I feel that since the tests exist, the students should take them,” said Frances J. Chudy, a Derby mother who has twins in eighth grade in the Lake Shore district.

Her kids sat for the tests this week, Chudy said.

Chudy, whose career has been in accounting, said the situation didn’t add up for her.

“I don’t like to teach this generation that you can just get out of something,” she said. “As long as the system exists, the kids should take the tests.”

Across the region, other parents thought differently. Many had kids sit out of tests last week – good proportions of local classrooms, in some cases.

In the Southtowns, some parents said taking the test was a good learning experience.

The questions will be similar to others her kids will get later on in school on tests like the Regents exam, said Chudy, whose family includes two middle schoolers and a high schooler.

“That was the main arguing point I told my kids,” she said.

In the Frontier district one day last week, parent Marie Fraser said her daughter would participate in testing at her elementary school.

“She kind of wanted to take it,” said Fraser, a Hamburg teacher whose daughter is a third-grader.

Michelle L. Kowalski, a mother of four who lives in Angola and is the president of the PTA at a school in the Lake Shore district, said her children took the tests.

“My children just kind of expect – if that’s what they’re doing in school, that’s what they’re doing,” she said.

Phil Kiefer, a parent from Derby who lives in the Lake Shore district, said his elementary-school-age son took the tests last week.

“It builds grit. It gives you an understanding of what the whole testing process is about,” Kiefer said.

Kiefer said emotions about the test were not the primary concern, in his eyes.

“Sometimes you get nervous – that’s life,” he said. “We don’t think by opting out, we’re doing anything to help the system.”

Kiefer, who owns a company, said the situation last week was an eye-opening one for him.

“I’m not really an activist,” he said. “I didn’t have a major opinion one way or the other.”

He said he became vocal on an issue that he really hasn’t been, up to now.

With reporting from Barbara O’Brien. email: