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Cuomo would not opt his children out of state tests

Despite calling the rollout of Common Core a mistake, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said if his children were younger, he would send them to school to take the state tests.

The state Education Department made mistakes when it rolled out the tests linked to the Common Core standards several years ago, Cuomo told The Buffalo News editorial board this week.

“They rolled them out too quickly, they hadn’t trained the teachers, the teachers revolted, they hadn’t explained to parents that the scores were going to be much lower, the parents had heart failure, they didn’t explain to the students that their grades were going to be much lower – and the students suffered,” he said.

If he had children of testing age, would he opt them out?

“No,” the governor said.

New York’s new Regents chancellor had a different answer when asked the same question several weeks ago. Betty Rosa said she if was not on the Board of Regents, she would opt out a child at this time.

As students in third through eighth grades completed the three-day English language arts assessments Thursday, the opt-out movement continues to be strong, according to an anti-test group.

United to Counter the Core is keeping a grass-roots tally of how many students around the state have refused to take the test. With reports from just over one-third of districts, the statewide opt-out rate was an estimated 11.4 percent, which translates to 129,539 students, according to the group. Last year, more than 220,000 students opted out.

The numbers were down in some districts, and up in others. The group favors removing Common Core standards, a permanent ban on using the tests for teacher and school evaluations and no sharing of child data without parental permission.

Cuomo said he doesn’t “know if the opt-out movement has accepted it yet” but the Board of Regents has gone a long way to start correcting the mistakes in the rollout of the assessments. There are fewer questions this year, students have an unlimited amount of time to take the tests, and the results will not be used in teacher evaluations for four years.

But there have been reports of students taking nearly twice as much time as expected on the second day of tests, and of missing “planning pages” in days two and three of the test.

“Is Common Core the way it was rolled out in New York good? The answer is no. I don’t care if you love Common Core,” the governor said. “The way it was rolled out in New York was not good.”