Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Opt Out by vacation.

New York State Parents,

If your family is fortunate enough to be able to take a vacation next year, consider from April 16 through May 1st.  This is the time-frame for the New York State Assessments in ELA and Math for grades 3-8.

As a two-educator household, we are lucky to have the summer open to vacation flexibility, but during the school-year, we are locked into the school calendar.  At one point in my career as a teacher, I would be upset if a student went on vacation during the school year.  Over the years, I have realized that not all parents can get time off of work during school breaks to take a much needed family vacation. 

If parents are looking for a good time to take a family trip, I recommend during the state testing period.  It is a win-win in many ways:

First of all, this is a stretch of time when the least amount of true learning is happening in classrooms across New York.  The inappropriate length of the exams, combined with the set up and collection times, basically ruins half of our children's school days for each of the exam dates.  Knowing that students have had a tough morning with the testing, the afternoon usually turns into time to unwind on the playground or decompress with games or a movie.  Basically very little academic progress will be made over the state assessment time period.

Secondly, the New York State Assessments are given after the traditional Spring Break holidays from around the country.  Amazing vacation deals are available in late April since most schools are back in session for the rest of the school year.  You can save money, have a great vacation without the crowds, and protest by opting out of the harmful state exams at the same time.  A win-win for your family and public education!

Of course the Florida Theme Parks are a popular family trip that would be much cheaper, but how about Washington, D.C. or the National Parks that would be packed during school holidays or summer? D.C. or the National Parks could provide a great REAL learning opportunity as opposed to being locked down in a classroom with a number two pencil.

Start planning now!

Live in another state?  Find out your state's testing schedule and take a vacation then!

Coming soon: Plan your OPT OUT vacation.

A good time for New York State parents to consider their family vacation.