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Superintendent asks stakeholders to oppose mandatory field tests

Filed in Archive by on November 25, 2014

On November 24, 2014, the following message was sent by Superintendent Thomas J. Douglas to all staff, asking them to join him in opposing mandatory field testing of students in New York State. Parents and community residents are invited to do the same.

A CALL TO ACTION! Oppose NY’s move to force field testing in schools

When I opened the school year on September 2, I made an important promise to you and to district families that we would further reduce testing time for students this year by eliminating so-called field tests. I made this decision because I believe taking instructional time away from students to administer these tests – which serve to benefit big-money test makers like Pearson — is, quite simply, a misuse of valuable student learning time. I vowed I would use “sword and shield” as superintendent to limit testing where I could.

Now, a proposal by the Board of Regents threatens this promise. Your voice is needed to keep field testing out of BC classrooms! Earlier this month, the Board of Regents put forth a proposal that would force school districts to participate in 40-minute stand-alone field testing, whether they believe it is in the best interests of students or not. I am asking you to join me to oppose this move. Together, we can defend education for students here in Bethlehem and across the state. The proposed amendment can be found here.

Please take a few minutes to email the Board of Regents, and our representatives in the New York State Legislature, to oppose making field tests mandatory.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Open your email and copy and paste the following email addresses into the “To”line:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  1. Enter “Oppose Mandatory Field Testing of NY Students” in the “Subject” line.
  2. Include the following message: “I am a stakeholder in the Bethlehem Central School District and I am writing to let you know of my STRONG OPPOSITION to the Board of Regents’ proposal that would require all school districts to administer stand-alone field testing to students. Students in New York have already endured a considerable test load brought about by Common Core and APPR. To shut off the one relief valve our schools have to ease the testing burden on them is not only ill-timed, it is unreasonable. Now, more than ever, our students need leadership that is vested in preserving precious instructional time and boosting classroom learning, rather than handing it over to big business test makers. When you revisit this issue in the coming weeks, please keep the needs our students at the forefront of the field testing discussion.”
  3. Copy the same message and email the New York State Education Department between December 3, 2014 and January 20, 2015, the public comment period related to the proposed amendment.  The email address is
  4. Share this message with friends and family in other school districts to amplify the voice of opposition to mandatory field testing.

Thank you for joining me in this important call to action. You continue to give your best every day, and I am committed to doing the same for you. Together, we can make a difference.