Astorino's Children To Boycott Common Core Exams

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - The children of County Executive and New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be among thousands of students boycotting the New York State Common Core English Language Arts exam on Tuesday, April 1, Astorino announced in a video released Monday, March 31.

"After speaking at length with my wife, Sheila, who's a special education teacher, I am announcing today that my children will join with thousands of other school kids tomorrow, statewide, in refusing to take the Cuomo Common Core test," he said.

Astorino said while his children will still attend school on Tuesday, they will opt out of the exam -- which will be taken by children grades three through eight.

Several parent groups are citing the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth amendments as legal backup for their decision to withhold their children from the exam, which they believe is causing undue stress on their children by emphasizing competitive test scores over the well-being and individual learning needs of children. 

"Tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of New York children, from third through eighth grade, will arrive at school and be told to serve as guinea pigs in one of the most untested education experiments in U.S. history," Astorino said. 

In the video, Astorino criticized the origin of the new Common Core standards, which have been very controversial across the country and in the state, saying it was not crafted with proper oversight by educators and parents, and instead from "from Bill Gates and, later, Washington bureaucrats -- the geniuses who brought us Obamacare."

Like many throughout New York, some Westchester parents say that the national standards have brought excessive testing for students and an unfair evaluation system for teachers.

“They put the kids through the ringer last year, and they felt overwhelmed and stressed about it,” said Heather LaFortezza, who has five children in the Chappaqua Central School District.

Astorino said many parents, including he and his wife, have sat up countless nights with their children, who were "frustrated to tears by math methods that left us all scratching our heads."

"From what we have seen so far, Cuomo's Common Core may be damaging their education, not helping it," he said. "Our family's protest tomorrow is a symbolic one. But as parents we think it's important to take a stand. Our children aren't Guinea Pigs, Governor Cuomo, and we want them educated by teachers - not faceless bureaucrats in Washington."

Are your children opting out of the ELA on Tuesday? Join the conversation below.


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Comments (26)

I no longer have children in the schools, but I can say that my parents would have told my brother and me just to go in and do our best, which is what I would have told my children, which is what I told my daughter about sending her children to school to take the test. Just do it!

I am not opposed to common core. As a college professor, I see these kids coming into college lacking basic reading, writing, and math skills. The US needs a common core. What I don't like is the content of the common core. I think that the curriculum must be revised. We need to go back to the old way of rote memory, learning the basics through 3rd grade, and then start reasoning in 4th grade. Make students exercise their brains by memorizing, so that they have brain matter with which to reason later on! Also make them stand up and read aloud in class. Too bad about fractured egos. These kids need to read!

I have to side with Prof. Furfero on this one -- we know that the education system in the U.S. has slowly but steadily become inferior to many other countries -- a recent ranking put us 17th in the list, with Finland and South Korea at the very top. Business entities - service, manufacturing and research - tell us that they have job openings, yet many individuals in the pool of available workers are unqualified because of math and language deficiencies. Perhaps the adoption of Common Core was a bit abrupt; I think there have been some accommodations offered by Gov. Cuomo and Commissioner King.

Meanwhile, to have an elected official (Astorino) use his children to make some sort of a political statement speaks loudly of his lack of character and his lack of judgment.

Maybe the answer to OUR education problems could be solved by looking at all those countries, 17 , that are in front of us in overall education out come. This Common Core is a sham. It is worse than the old " progressive Education System" of the 50's! The three R's. When you master them then you can add all the frills.

So much time and money is spent on these tests, but no one has ever been able to explain to me what they really measure. I think that a child's grades are the best way to judge how well they are learning, not some high pressure test.

If the common core tested are flawed as Andrew Cuomo said in January 22, 2014, why have it?? It's silly to have a test to evaluate teachers on teaching skills, if you have students that cannot grasp all that is taught through out the day.
It seems that Mr. Astorino is using his children as a politican pawn. You don't want your children to take the Common Core test, that's fine. No, one cares!!! Many parents don't agree with the Common core testing, yet no news media is knocking on their doors.

Yes, Astorino is a politician, however, I applaud him for speaking out against State testing and the problems of the Common Core Standards. Teachers are losing their ability to be creative and adjust and adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of their students. Take the time to educate yourselves on how the Common Core was developed and what it entails. You will be shocked to learn that schools were promised and given "race to the top" financing only if they agreed to adopt Common Core standards. Now Georgia is rejecting CCS and
are required to return millions of dollars of school budget money. There is a copyright on the curriculum so no one in academia can alter it. Teachers are required to teach it as written. Kids will get right answers marked wrong unless they perform the steps they have been taught: 2+2 may not equal 4 as we were taught to believe. Please, learn the facts. Common core has already caused children undue stress and anxiety. Please check out the literature for yourself.

And I will also add, my children have been taking NYS standardized tests for the past 16 years. My oldest children were not educated under the Common Core Standards. Did they lose points on assessment tests for not following certain steps and procedures? Or for not showing their work? Yes. This is nothing new. There is some logic behind this - developing minds that are capable of complex reasoning processes, not simply intuitive guessing. Think about geometry - demonstrating your proof is a step by step process. Leave out a step, and you are indicating or at least suggesting that you do not or may not fully understand the the process. This is hardly a black and white issue. Then again, few issues are.

I have read the literature. And I respectfully disagree. Teachers and students need to be challenged and held accountable. Common Core is in its infancy and there will be hiccups. This is to be expected. There is no question that it will be tried, tested, and issues ironed out in time.

When it comes time to apply to college, will Astorino's children sit out the SAT? SAT test prep, which like the SAT, is, of course, optional, nevertheless teaches to the test in the name of a single objective - admission to our nation's colleges and universities. While the SAT is a questionable and far from perfect measurement of native and acquired intelligence, it nevertheless sets a necessary bar. Will the Astorino children only apply to schools which do not require the SAT? Surely the SAT is a standardized test which produces an enormous amount of anxiety.

Will Astorino's children sit out the SAT? Only if he is running for office and he feels that by pimping out his children, he might win some votes.

While I agree with his choice I think a great deal of the validity becomes questionable when he tries to turn this into a political stance of him vs Cuomo by calling it the Cuomo Common Core. That is blatantly untrue and unfair. Common Core is bane sweeping the nation and Cuomo just a small cog in a very big wheel that allowed this to happen here in NY. We can only hope that NY reverses the decision for the controversial testing that is making our children's lives so difficult.

I have no problem with common standards, I do have serious issues with the assessment part of this. I would have cheered on Astorino if he did not make it clear that he doesn't really care that much about the issue, he is merely trying to score political points using his children. I was considering voting for him before, I'm not now.

Hmmmm. Questionable, perhaps irresponsible choice. Astorino doesn't want to subject his kids to standards? Maybe he should home school them. If he's willing to shortchange his own kids to make a few political points, just think how much he cares about your kids.

Are these the same parents who add the additional stress of sports competition to their childrens lives and then as grandmachis states, believes every child should be given an award regardless of whether or not they earned it? Maybe they should take the test and all receive the highest grade possible to make them feel better. What a life lesson you are teaching your children. If you can't score at the top they don't even try? Is it the testing they are afraid of or is that they think it might be a reflection on them if their children don't score high? And if they don't, so what? It might be an incentive to try a little harder or perhaps an insight to a child needing more assistance to aid them in achieving a higher result. Allowing children to opt out is hardly a solution and certainly not a lesson I would want to teach my child. If you don't apply yourself and at least try to do your best what else is there?

Concerned about your child's ability to succeed in the 21st century? Raise the bar. Common core does just that. If you don't understand the new math, maybe you should educate yourself. I did. Coddling our kids and failing to compete with foreign educational standards will hobble our children and our country for decades to come. Got grit? I'm going to make damn sure my child does.

You are kidding me. These parents that want to protect their kids from everything end up with adults who cannot think for themselves or deal with life's adversities. Sounds like the same parents who thought everyone should get a trophy and thought their kid did not figure out he or she did not even have to try to earn it.

Using the kids to score political points with the Tea Party. Nice. This should disqualify him as a viable candidate. Cyotos, that's a great idea. Let's all decide on our own what law we will follow. I, for one, think paying taxes puts undo stress on me, and who are these dictators to tell me I have to send MY money to them to support Michelle Bachman's family farm and John Boehner's vacations, golf and drinking habits? Nope, no more taxes. Why should I have to support the oil companies and the coal mining companies? No more laws! No more rules! THAT's the American way, right?

JstDaFcts is right, kids should not be used to score political points with ANY party, Left or Right. But the Left had no problems with Bill DeBlasio using HIS kids to score political points.
And I agree that paying taxes puts undo stress on us. Why should I have to send MY money to pay for the multitude of vacations taken by President Obama and Michelle Obama? And why should I have to pay taxes for myself and for the one-percenters who pay no taxes, people like George Soros, Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, and Lloyd Blankfein, as well as the wanna-be one-percenters like Reverend Al Sharpton?

Actually, speaking from the left, I did have problems with Bill DeBlasio using his kids to score political points, and said so at the time. By the way, why should (your or) I have to pay taxes to support voucher programs which feed partisan charter schools with the freedom to teach creationism as an alternative, or instead of, evolution? Or other partisan issues. Am down with your one-percenter point.

"Opting out" of state tests should not be an option. People complain left and right about perceived low test scores in Pound Ridge and other Westchester neighborhoods. How will we ever have a somewhat accurate understanding of our district's performance if all our children do not participate in the test taking process? Those who "opt" their children out of the test are often the first to bemoan the low test scores, and the effects of such scores on their property values.

What a pandering sniveling divisive little man. The Common Core Standards were an initiative by NGA -- NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION. But I doubt your are that stupid that you couldn't figure that out for yourself -- so instead you take the position of 'whatever my opponent is for -- I am against'. Good thing you will never be a member of the NGA.
Now go tell your kids what a big fat liar you are who will do anything to get a job your not qualified for.

You nailed it. Mr. Astorino is showing his true character by pimping out his children to win some dubious Tea Party prize. Very sad, indeed.

All standardized testing does this. There is no other way to establish a bar. And there is absolutely nothing new about standardized testing. A Common Core curriculum? Raising the educational bar for what we expect from our children so they can compete in an increasing competitive world economy? I'm all for it.

When I saw the headline I though, "well look at that, Rob and I agree on something." But when he managed to demonize Governor Cuomo and the Affordable Care Act, I knew it was just an opportunistic political game, in which he includes his kids—Unforgivable.

The Westchester County Executive should be marching to make Chris Christie tell the truth and get to the truth concerning Bridgegate. What about Affordable housing in Westchester ?????There are many issues, besides Common Core ,that affect all of us that need attention.

Affordable Housing in Westchester? Mr Astorino ran against obeying a Federal Court Order to do just that. Be sure of where he stands. I would not say he is a racist; but his policy has such strong support among people who wish to keep their upcounty towns just one color, that one cannot rule out such thoughts. "Affordable Housing" has become another "CODE WORD" in Westchester/

I was interested in this until I got to the part where Astorino refers to the Common Core as "Coumo's Common Core". That is not the title of the program, and his transparency comes shining right through. What a stupid move. He should have at the very least tried to make it appear as if this is about his kids and not his push to become the next NY Governor. Sad really.

The government is going too for forcing things down or throats . Obama with Obama care,and Como with the common core exams. It is time the American People stood up and made these dictators take notice! Our children will be inheriting the mess these so called leaders are making. Hopefully enough children will opt out of taking the exam, and it will send a message to these fat cats that have nothing better to but destroy our way of life in America.