Gary Stern of the Lohud newspaper in the Lower Hudson Valley, a region where parents are passionate about their public schools, describes New York’s intention to punish students and schools if the opt rate is high.

The state insists that every child take the tests, no matter how invalid and unreliable they are. The children must be measured and labeled!

Stern writes:

“The school year just opened, so the annual state tests in math and ELA seem like a long way off. Testing for grades 3-8 begins in early April, when the Yanks and Mets will be starting next season.

“And yet, the state Board of Regents may soon pass new rules for holding school districts and individual schools accountable if too many families “opt out” of tests. One such rule would allow the state education commissioner to direct a district to spend a portion of its federal Title I funds on “activities” to increase student participation on state tests.

“This is a terrible idea. The Regents should balk.

“Schools use Title I funds on staff and programs to help disadvantaged students — targeting everything from math and reading intervention to supports for homeless children. Taking money away from such efforts for a parent-targeted p.r. campaign? Hardly smart education funding.”

This is a very mean-spirited, stupid idea. Why would the state take money away from the neediest kids to re-educate parents?

Note to the Regents and Commissioner Elia: The children belong to their parents, not to you. Read the Pierce decision (1925).