Parents Want to Opt Children Out of State Testing

April 2, 2013 Updated Apr 2, 2013 at 11:47 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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April 2, 2013 Updated Apr 2, 2013 at 11:47 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Many parents across Western New York are uniting against standardized tests in their kids schools.

Many parents, here in Western New York and across the state are on a mission because there is no official option for parents to opt their children out of state-testing in New York.

Children have been taking standardized tests for years -- but some parents say it has now gotten out of control.

Eric Mihelbergel, a concerned parent, says state tests are "Taking that time away from their other academic activities -- that's a big problem for me as a parent.

Mihelbergel has two daughters, and says state testing takes up too much of their time, depriving them from the best possible education.

"This is not art, art is not taking a test," Mihelbergel says. "Art is not taking a test and being creative. A test can't measure that."

Parents say educators are forced to teach to the state tests, restricting their curriculum and student growth.

In a letter from the Director of New York State Assessment to superintendents and principals across the state, parents cannot opt their children out of state testing.

The letter reads, with a few exceptions, "there is no provision in the statute or regulation allowing aprents to opt their children out of state tests."

The letter explains schools are required to have a 95-percent participation rate for full funding.

Mihelbergel says some schools are working with kids who do not want to take the test -- including his own. However, for others, the pressure is on.

"There's a lot of anxiety going into these tests -- and for 8 and 9 year old kids," Mihelbergel says. "As a parent that's not what I want them to be experiencing at 8 and 9 years old. I want them to be excited, I want them to be enjoying their learning."

There is a forum at the Kenmore Alliance Church in Tonawanda on Thursday to discuss the issue.

Others across the country say they face similar problems. Parents nationwide are rallying on Thursday in Washington, DC.