Citizen Action, a left-leaning labor group, is supporting an effort to have students opt-out of standardized examinations, dedicating a portion of its website to the growing opt-out movement.

“Standardized tests for students in grades 3 to 8 begin April 14. Because of a flawed law signed by Governor Cuomo as part of the state budget, even more of students’ time in the classroom will be spent teaching to the tests,” Citizen Action says on its website. “That means less time for actual learning, or subjects like science, social studies, art and music.”

The opt-out push comes after state lawmakers approved education reform measures that Gov. Andrew Cuomo had sought in the state budget, including a new teacher evaluation criteria that includes a mix of state tests and in-classroom observation. A second test can be made available, though that is subject to collective bargaining.

Citizen Action is also aligned with the Working Families Party, a union-backed party that continues to clash with Cuomo on a variety of issues.

The Department of Education will determine how much weight to give the evaluation test versus in-classroom observations.

The approved budget will make it more challenging for teachers to receive tenure and poor-performing teachers can be fired, regardless of tenure.

Cuomo has also insisted that he’s trying to reduce the number of standardized tests students have to take in the classroom, but added in a radio interview recently it is the best metric for measuring a school’s progress.

Citizen Action provides a multi-step process for “test refusal” including a sample letter to send to a school as well as a frequently asked questions section that insists districts won’t lose funding if students choose to opt out.

The effort, announced in an email today from the organization, comes after New York State United Teachers union President Karen Magee said last month she was encouraging parents to not have their students take part in Common Core-based tests.

At the same time, Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Cathy Nolan introduced a bill last week that is aimed at “providing parents with the right and authority to exempt their
children from taking standardized assessments.”

That’s not the only legislative effort in the works: Measures in both the Senate and Assembly would require the state Department of Education to notify parents of their rights to not have students take standardized examinations.