NYC Parents Launch "Say Yes to the Test" Campaign

Rally at City Hall in Support of Opting In To State Assessments

MARCH 23, 2017
MICHAEL NITZKY, 212 257 4349

(NEW YORK) – More than 100 parents from across New York City came together today to support a city and statewide campaign encouraging parents to have their children take state assessments, which begin next week.

New York City opt-in rates continue to lead the state with over 98 percent participation. At the same time, statewide opt-out rates have flat-lined over the past two years.  This is in part in response to steps the New York State Department of Education and its Board of Regents have taken to improve the quality of the tests themselves as well as quality and timeliness of the information teachers, parents and students receive about student results. Taken together this has helped underscore the value of these critical assessments. 

Today's rally is part of a statewide “Say Yes to the Test” effort that includes similar events in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, a testimonial campaign from parents and leaders airing on Pandora and social media, and ongoing communication efforts.

“I've heard it said that if you can track a problem, you can treat a problem. Well these assessments help my child's teachers do just that. It's like an annual check-up letting them know which lessons my son has learned and which they haven’t. With this information, parents like me can have a better understanding what’s happening in their child’s classroom. I’m saying yes to the test for my son and urging all parents to do the same,” said Jean Holybrice, Fort Greene parent.

“The tests show us that there's an achievement gap and that black and Hispanic students have been left behind. That’s why taking these math and reading tests are so important; the results show politicians there are problems that must be solved. Opting in is a critical step to helping every child, regardless of where they grow up, achieve success,” said Zulika Bumpus, Crown Heights parent.

“These assessments give New York teachers and students the information they need to prepare for the future. If parents want to fight income inequality, I urge them to say yes to the test. I want a better future for my son so that’s why I’m saying yes to the test,” said Crystal Lee-McJunkin, Jamaica parent.

The transcript of the New York City radio testimonial as is provided below.


Damian Gaillard, 5th Grade Parent, New York City - Radio Testimonial:

I’m Damian Gaillard, parent of a fifth grader in Harlem.

Too many of our kids were slipping through the cracks at school, so we demanded change.

We can’t go backwards on the promises we’ve made to every child, no matter where they live.

You have a chance to keep this promise by saying “Yes” to this year’s 3rd through 8th Grade English and Math assessments.

If parents want to fight income inequality, they should say “Yes to the Test.”

Say “Yes to the Test” because my child and yours deserve a great education and a bright future.



StudentsFirstNY is a grassroots education advocacy organization dedicated to improving public schools throughout New York State.


High Achievement New York provides New York parents, teachers, business and community leaders with an organized platform to support the Common Core, as well as provide information on what the new standards will mean for our children and the future of New York State. It seeks to provide community and educator driven solutions to issues that arise as higher standards and aligned assessments are integrated into local schools.

Coalition members include: Albany Colonie Chamber of Commerce, America Achieves, American Association of University Women, Association for a Better New York, Bethlehem Parents for Excellence, Buffalo ReformEd, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Urban League, Business Council of New York State, Business Council of Westchester, Center for American Progress, Committee for Hispanic Families and Children, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, Council For a Strong America, District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo, The Education Trust – New York, Educators 4 Excellence, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, the Hispanic Federation, National Council of La Raza, New York Campaign for Achievement Now, New York Educator Voice Fellowship, New York Urban League, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for Inner-City Education, Parent Power Project- Rochester, Printing Industries Alliance, StudentsFirstNY, Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Rochester, and Urban League of Westchester. 

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