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Opt-Out Policy On Mineola’s Mind

The Mineola School Board is currently reviewing options if parents elect to keep their kids home once the next round of “Common Core” testing hits the district. But leaders have indicated Mineola is in a holding pattern. Trustee William Hornberger broached the subject at a recent business meeting.

 

He asked if steps are being taken to address possible opt-outs, a tactic parents across Long Island are threatening to resort to.

 

“Did we want to discuss, administratively, if there were going to be individuals who opt out, how we’re going to handle that,” Hornberger said. 

 

The district does not have an opt-out policy at this time, but District Superintendent Michael Nagler indicated at a recent common core talk at Mineola Middle School that a plan could be implemented by January. Mineola is currently in its second year of the new

English common core curriculum and in the first year in the math.

 

Mineola could look to see what neighboring districts are doing, according to Nagler.

 

“I’d like to make a recommendation to the board at a later date,” Nagler said. “There’s no policy. There’s really an administrative, procedural piece to it. I’m still gathering what our neighboring districts are doing. They’re also in limbo in a lot of respects. The discussion may be a bit early.”

 

Hornberger said he’ll wait and see as well, but definitely wants to know what other schools are preparing.

 

“I appreciate the aspect of what others are doing or what they may turn out to be doing...it may or may not sway how I feel as it relates to the process, but we could hear what other districts are doing,” he said. “I’ve been an outlier before. I don’t mind being it again. So I’ll await for information.”

 

School board president Artie Barnett said “we’ve been pounding the pavement legally” and have reached out to the New York State School Board Association and the State Education Department.

 

“I think we’re still in the gathering state,” he said.

 

The common core has been hotly debated since its implementation, which has borne the brunt of criticism and backlash from parents and educators. Long Island saw a 40 percent drop in grades in August test results. State Education Commissioner John King predicted a drop of at least 30 percent score decrease at a state superintendent conference this past summer, according to district officials.

 

Mineola parent Mary Goodfellow took issue with the new standards and curriculum at the Dec. 3 forum, calling the common core a “lemon” and found her son’s math is difficult to help him with. She said her daughter will be opting out of the common core exam.

 

The next round of testing in Mineola is the Regents exam in January. English and math assessments in third through eighth grade will commence in April and May.