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Opt-Out Chatter

The Mineola School District will have only one student opting out of the next week’s much-debated common core English Language Arts assessment.

At a recent school board meeting. Superintendent Michael Nagler revealed there is a plan is in place for possible opt-outs. 


“I do not anticipate many children opting out,” he said. “We did not have many last year. I do not believe it’s any different this year than it has been in past. According to [New York State], there is no such thing as opt-out.”


Williston Park parent Mary Desiderio is concerned that test-taking students may get distracted by kids who are opting out of the exam. She feels it’s unfair to children who are working to witness other students ignoring the exam.


“State tests are just around the corner,” she said. “I have two sons in state test grades. My concern is with children who are not taking the tests and if there are any students who opt out. What will they be doing? Reading? Will they be sitting in the back of the room?”


Mineola parent Mary Goodfellow took issue with the new standards and curriculum at the Dec. 3, 2013 forum, calling the common core a “lemon” and saying she found her son’s math is difficult to help with. She said her daughter will be opting out of the common core exam. 


“This has nothing to do with her performance and is all about big business and corporations being involved in my child’s academics, which they have no business being involved in,” Goodfellow said last week.


“As long as the teachers know how to handle [opt-outs],” Desiderio said. “But what happens if they become disruptive?”


Guidelines set forth by the state, Nagler said, are if a test is in front of a student, they should be taking the test.


“Teachers have always issued exams to students long as the test is in front of them, whether they take it or not, they are not permitted to do anything else,” Nagler said. “Anyone who finishes the exam can then read at that time.”


Nagler feels routine will take its course with teachers handling testing day as they have in the past.


“The assessment is a normal part of school,” he said. “Our staff is well-informed to handle a situation that I don’t think is going to occur.”