In response to last week’s State English Language Arts () tests given to students in grades three through eight, New York Principals provided a survey to parents, teachers, and administrators to better understand the impact. Now, the principals have sent an Open Letter to the New York State Education Department further stating their concerns about too much student testing and criticizing some of the content in last week’s materials. Harry Leonardatos, principal of Clarkstown North High School, is among the 31 percent of the state’s principals who have been speaking out about the excessive student testing.
The New York Principals who have signed a letter opposing the new teacher and principal evaluation system,, are concerned about the overemphasis on testing at the expense of student learning.
The electronic 15-question parent and teacher survey made available last week asks them about the impact of testing on students’ learning experiences this year. Questions asks parents whether there is enough time in school devoted to reading books, project based learning, critical thinking activities, the arts, science, and social studies. The survey is also seeking feedback from parents and teachers on how the emphasis on high stakes testing has affected learning time.
Leonardatos gave the parent survey link to the PTA Council, which distributed it to the school PTAs. He said the survey responses do not identify districts. The survey categorizes schools as suburban, urban and rural. According to Leonardatos, initial results are expected in early May and will be released by the New York Principals.
Additionally, a 12-question survey is directed toward principals and will be distributed to a sample of elementary and middle school principals throughout the state. This survey asks them to estimate how much instructional time has been lost due to testing as well as the financial costs their school and taxpayers have incurred as a result of administering these exams.
Although New York Principals agree that school-wide achievement results are critical, they fear the current policy regarding the use of state tests will have a negative impact on schools and children.