BROOKLYN, April 13 2015--James Lane, the Green Party candidate for Congress in the 11th CD, today encouraged all NYC and NY State public school families to join the movement to Opt-Out their children from the state-wide, high stakes standardized tests that begin on April 14th. Lane's own 9 year old son who attends the Brooklyn New School, P.S. 146 (where 82% of children refused the tests last year) will not be taking the tests for the second year in a row.
Brian Jones, a well-known education activist and the 2014 Green Party Lt. Governor candidate, said of Lane, "There are so many reasons to support James Lane for Congress, but if you need to add another: consider the fact that James is a long-standing supporter of the movement against high stakes standardized testing. James has put his money where his mouth is; as a public school parent, he opts his own son out of these tests and speaks out to whoever will listen about the abuses of standardized testing in our schools.” Brian Jones, contributed a chapter on “Standardized Testing and Students of Color” to a just published book promoting the opt out movement called, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing, edited by Jesse Hagopian with a preface by Dianne Ravitch.
"These suspect tests are written by for-profit corporations like Pearson instead of by experienced educators. These companies are completely unregulated and use junk science, secrecy and manipulated scoring to harm children and punish teachers. Billions of dollars are being spent to line the pockets of test makers instead of going into school budgets that are in desperate need. We need to implement vetted and fair assessments of children and teachers led by education experts, not corporations that know nothing about education." said Lane.
Lane pointed out that critics of the Opt Out movement attempt to argue that test refusal is only occurring in more affluent schools and communities. However, Lane stressed that in fact, poor communities and communities of color are suffering the most from the intense pressure schools are experiencing to keep their test scores up in order to avoid closure. "This undue pressure has resulted in schools resorting to extremely long, stressful, and mind numbing test prep that is actually fueling a bigger opt-out movement in all schools and in all communities" said Lane.
Lane strongly agrees with Howie Hawkins, the 2014 Green Party Gubernatorial candidate who said in a recent press release in reaction to the passing of the April 1st NY state budget, "Every struggling school threatened by the state with receivership is in a poor community. Real education reform would include broader social reform that attacks poverty, segregation, and under-resourcing of schools in poor, segregated communities.”
Lane expressed anger about the fact that many Democrats who claim to be strong supporters of education voted for Cuomo's budget on April 1st that is extremely disrespectful to teachers and which will do extraordinary harm to public education.
"It is obvious that Cuomo has taken revenge against the teachers who did not support him or his policies in the 2014 election. But the fact that most Democrats and Republicans so easily fell in line with Cuomo's unabashed revenge on teachers only illustrates how desperately we need the Green Party as a truly independent voice. We need campaign finance reform that will end the domination of the two corporate parties' control of our electoral system so that we can put a stop to the obvious morally reprehensible actions these same elected officials engage in time and time again" said Lane.
Lastly, Lane pointed out that many families are still afraid to opt out and refuse the tests because of intimidation by some school administrators. Parents are also being given false information about how opting out might negatively effect their children, schools, or teachers. Lane says that these threats have no validity and he therefore encourages families to seek out accurate information through groups like Change the Stakes (www.changethestakes.org) and to follow the parent lead movement on twitter at #DENYTHEDATA and #DENYTHELIES.