The New York State Education Department says that the percentage of students in grades three to eight who opted out of exams dropped to 18 percent last spring, compared to 21 percent in 2016. On Long Island the average boycott rate has stayed at nearly 50 percent since 2016, according to a Newsday survey.
Jeanette Deutermann, with Long Island Opt Out, says it's unfair to put students through these high stakes tests.
“We still keep pushing ahead with our advocacy. We’re not going to change the way that we are advocating or what we are advocating for no matter what the numbers do. However, having strong numbers sort of backs us up for the advocacy efforts that we are putting forward…[It] helps in sort of proving our point that parents are not happy. And proving our point that things do need to change or parents will not participate in this system.””
State tests are a controversial topic in New York because student scores affect school funding and teacher evaluations. The state has temporarily halted these evaluations, but the suspension is set to expire in June 2019.