Thousands of students boycott state-mandated exams

Jessie Rothenberg, age 8, holds a sign while sitting on her father

Jessie Rothenberg, age 8, holds a sign while sitting on her father’s shoulders while protesting Gov. Cuomo’s education policies in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in March. Stephanie Keith/for New York Daily News It’s an anti-testing tsunami.

Thousands of families across the Empire State said no to standardized testing , boycotting the state-mandated English Language Arts exams which began Tuesday.

While accurate figures were hard to come by, testing opponents, parents groups, and school officials from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, to Buffalo all agreed the number is likely to far exceed the 60,000 students who refused to take the test last year.

“From what I’m hearing from other superintendents, it could be at least 300,000 students across the state that opted out,” said William Cala, superintendent of Fairport Central School District near Rochester. Rachel Cohen, mother of a fifth-grader at Public School 261, said she thinks at least 66% of the 817 students in her Boerum Hill school refused to take the English Language Arts test – the first of the exams administered to third-through eighth-graders across New York State this week.