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No "fun" allowed for children who refuse to take state tests?

It's understandable that principals want to discourage their students and students' parents from opting out of this week's state assessment tests, but those opting out say they've gotten more than a little backlash in some cases. Several parents in Buffalo Public Schools have reported that they felt like they were being intimidated by school building leaders and treated with hostility when they chose to opt their children out of tests. The district said it would take all parent complaints seriously.

But parents aren't the only ones getting blowback for refusing to take the tests. DPCC President Sam Radford said some parents report children being reduced to tears for refusing to take the tests.

Finally, at Lorraine Elementary School 72, the principal promoted an annual "Fun Day" at Cazenovia Park for children in grades 3 - 8 to reward students for good behavior. This year's note to parents, however, stated that children with major discipline write-ups AND children who did not take all state assessment tests would not be allowed to participate.

We don't know if this has always been the standard at Lorraine Elementary for children participating in Fun Day. But we DO know that given the backlash against the Common Core-based standardized tests, it shouldn't be a surprise that some parents might be upset to receive such a letter this year. 

We asked the district about this. After talking with the principal at Lorraine Elementary, district spokeswoman Elena Cala said there has been a change of heart regarding the standardized test-taking requirement. 

“After further review, it was decided by the principal that would not be criteria for Fun Day,” Cala said.  

Below is a copy of the letter Lorraine Elementary School parents received.

-- Sandra Tan

Lorraine Academy Fun Day

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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