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For Immediate Release: July 12, 2016

Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C,I-East Patchogue) today criticized U.S. Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. for his continued his push against schools that have high opt-out rates of Common Core testing. Secretary King is pushing for new regulations that would penalize schools who have more than five percent of students refuse to take the tests.

“Rather than punishing districts with high opt-out rates, the Secretary should be looking at it from a different perspective. Every education official I meet says that one of the most important elements of providing a good education is having parental involvement, which is exactly what we have in these districts with high opt-out rates,” said Murray. “These districts are the most opportune place for school districts and his administration to work together and create a curriculum that works for the students and teachers, instead of forcing King’s one–size-fits–all approach on them.

Having served as the NYS Education Commissioner from 2011 to 2014, Secretary King is no stranger to the adverse effects that Common Core can have on school districts and students. This past year according to reports, over 50 percent of Long Island students opted out of ELA and Math testing. A campaign against districts with high opt out rates would especially hurt Long Island.

“We should be looking to involve parents and teachers to find common ground, not double down on Common Core and this ‘test and punish’ mentality. We have active, informed and caring parents who want the best for their kids. This is the perfect opportunity to work with them. Instead, Secretary King wants to punish these schools and label them as in need of improvement,” said Murray. “Most parents, teachers, and school administrators I’ve talked to say the same thing: this system of over-testing and punishment is not working. Common Core is not working. To truly make improvements in education we need to work with parents, teachers, superintends and our local boards of education, not against them. Our conference has been pushing for this since the disastrous rollout of Common Core in New York and I will continue to fight for the students and parents of Long Island, to return control of our education systems to the local level.”