Friday, May 08, 2015

The Racial And Income Composition In School Districts Affects The "Opt Out" Numbers.

The release of the student "opt out" numbers have slowed to a trickle as a clearly embarrassed NYSED has pressured the remaining school districts not to give out their "opt out" numbers.   Despite the pressure from the NYSED, the State "opt out" numbers are slowly trickling in.  The latest numbers are as follows:

Subject.............Students...........Percent Reported



The above values show that combined, a total of 283,000 students have "opted out".  Moreover, when the NYSED eventually and reluctantly release the final "opt out" numbers, the number will soar over 300,000, which is well above the whisper number of 250,000 that the "opt out" organizations were predicting and over three times higher than the State was expecting.

The hotbed of the "opt out" movement was the solidly middle class communities in the New York City suburbs, especially Long Island.  While the lowest "opt out" rates were in low income minority school districts.  On Long Island I compared the various "opt out" numbers in Math from the different communities by income.

School District                      Income         "Opt Out" %

Wyandanch                                   Low                     8.4%
Hempstead                                   Low                     3.4%
Elmont                                           Low                     5.9%
Roosevelt                                      Low                     7.9%

Comsewogue                             Middle                 83.5%
Sayville                                       Middle                 74.6%
East Islip                                     Middle                 74.2%
Merrick                                        Middle                 70.1%

Jericho                                         High                    21.6%    
Huntington                                  High                    24.1%       
Roslyn                                          High                    32.6%
Syosset                                       High                    35.2%

The income (and racial) disparity is very evident as the solidly middle class communities in Long Island had "opt out" rates above 50% while the wealthier communities saw about a 25-35% "opt out" rate, or one in three or four.  By contrast, the "opt out" rate in the poor minority communities were in the single digits. I can only speculate that poor minority parents didn't "opt out" their children either out of fear of being targeted, especially if the parents are undocumented, or they are not informed about how useless and time consuming the test is.  In any rate the "opt out" rates in poor and minority communities are low.  

It's very obvious that the better informed the parent is, the more likely they "opted out" their child from the useless State tests and this shows up in the "opt out" statistics.  Maybe the NYSED and the politicians will come to realize that their top down management is not the answer to closing the academic achievement gap but I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.     For another take of how useless these State tests are, read the NYC Educator blog.       


Anonymous said...


Keep up the reporting on this very important movement. It seems most people in power wants to forget what a disaster the State tests are.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure I agree with your hypothesis. Brentwood, a mostly minority community (and Latino) had over 50 percent opting out. Half Hollow Hills (Dix Hills) had 44 percent opting out and it is very wealthy. I think it had more to do with local organization.

Chaz said...

Anon 1:24

Brentwood, despite its large immigrant population, is a mixed middle/working class community and that accounts for the higher numbers. Half Hallow Hills is not a wealthy community and is predominantly a middle income area. By no means can it be compared to nearby Jericho or Syosset.

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Anonymous said...

I disagree with you on Half Hollow Hills. Dix Hills has a median household income of $144,494. I grew up there and it is a very wealthy area (the average household worth is over 1.1 million dollars). The average home value there is $630K. The median household income of Syosset is $130,726. Jericho had a median household income of $144,304. Merrick has a median household income of $132, it would qualify as a higher income area (higher than Syosset).

Brentwood's average household income is $69,925. Elmont's is $85,040, Roosevelt's average household income is $67,451.

And Huntington, NY is not a high income area...Average household income there is about $111,000. All this is from the US Census.

I love your blog, but the point is that it was more about community organizing than income. I don't even think you can ascribe it to people not opting out (ie. Syosset and Jericho) because of its reputation as an amazing school district. Commack has that same reputation and is a blue ribbon school district and had opt out rates over 70 percent.

Ironically, State Senator Flanagan's district seems to have had the highest opt out rate of any state senate district in the state.....he is loathed in his district now.

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Anonymous said...

By Wikipedia Brentwood doesn't look too middle class. It's almost 2/3 Latino and the income levels look decidedly lower income, plus high poverty rate.
But I suspect that it's opt out rate could be from good organizing. Maybe the hard working parents are saying we work hard and we resent BS policies being imposed on us by cono Cuomo & Tisch.

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