Education Commissioner returns to WNY

Posted at 8:45 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 11:33:01-04

It was during the question and answer portion of Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia's visit to Allendale Elementary school Wednesday, when parent Molly Dana decided to make a statement instead. She is opting both of her children out from upcoming state tests.  "If you could get your hands on a student's report, it tells you absolutely nothing about their strengths or weaknesses," said Dana.

Last year, the West Seneca School District had more than 70% of students opt out of state tests. So, Elia's visit was no coincidence.

Some people don't understand that there have been significant changes made with assessments," said Elia, "and it's our duty to make sure they know that."

These changes include shorter tests across the board.  There also won't be time limits on testing if a student is working productively.

Teachers are also reviewing each question.  "These teachers need to be writing these tests," said Allendale Kindergarten teacher Natalie Komosinski. "Teachers need to be using the results of these tests to guide our instruction and I just don't feel that's what the standardized tests are doing right now." 

Elia agreed, saying she wants educators even more involved in the process.

Despite the assurances, many parents say more changes need to happen before they opt their children in again.