Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown issued a policy directive to all principals and assistant principals stating the formal policy of the district is that students who refuse to take the state standardized assessment will not be provided any other reading materials to pass the time.
"Students will only be allowed to read the assessment," Brown stated.
Until now, the district has had no formal policy regarding how to handle students who refuse to take the state assessments. It was left to each principal to decide how to address the matter.
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore called the district's opt-out policy "cruel and unusual punishment" and said the BTF will pressure the school board to reverse it.
"This is terrible," he said. "This is absolutely outrageous."
Brown stated that there is no legal authority that allows a parent to opt out of testing. Rumore contends there is no authority that prevents a parent from opting out their child. Districts throughout the region have taken differing positions on how to address children who opt of tests, with some adopting positions similar to Buffalo's and others permitting students to read other materials or leave the room.
Below is a copy of Brown's letter to principals.
-- Sandra Tan