Daily Gazette: Bill offers special needs kids opt-out of Common Core testing Monday

March 25, 2014

By Haley Viccaro (Contact

Gazette Reporter  March 10, 2014

 —Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, introduced legislation calling for special needs students to have the option to opt out of Common Core-based testing.

The bill would enable parents or legal guardians of children with special needs to opt out of Common Core and other standardized testing in New York.

“One of the greatest flaws with the implementation of Common Core in New York has been disregard of the challenges faced by children with special needs,” Tkaczyk said. “It is not only foolish and unfair, it prevents students from achieving to the best of their abilities.”

The Common Core is a set of learning standards for kindergarten through 12th grade students to prepare them for college and a career. The State Education Department and Board of Regents have faced widespread criticism from parents and educators over the Common Core.

Tkaczyk’s legislation would require parents or guardians to provide a school principal with 10 days written notice requesting their child be exempt from taking standardized tests.

The proposed bill would establish the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, as the primary federal law governing the education of special needs children in the state.

“No child, parent, school or teacher should be penalized for opting out of inappropriate testing,” Tkaczyk said. “Our goal should be to create an educational experience that benefits all children, that challenges them without discouraging them.”