Parents have had it

Parents have had it

Parents have had it

An advocate for educational freedom doesn't think school administrators in New York are the only ones with a parental revolt on their hands.


Last spring, nearly 200,000 3rd-8th graders refused to take the state's standardized reading and math exams.

Most of the boycotts were in the suburbs of Long Island amid parental objections to excessive testing, which is also part of what is generally called the parents' rights movement.

According to the New York Post, that movement covers nationwide disputes over everything from homeschooling and charter schools and vouchers to what is taught in "Common Core" curriculum, transgender propaganda, and lockdowns and remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

McCluskey, Neal (Cato Institute) McCluskey

Neal McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Reform, thinks this particular revolt stems from the latter. Parents, he says, remain unhappy with the extended school closures of 2020 and the mask and vaccination mandates that were enforced when in-person learning finally reconvened.

"A lot of people started to feel like the public schools were not responsive to them," he notes.

COVID closures aside, McCluskey thinks people are increasingly frustrated with public education.

"It all leads me to think that this is more a function of people who have gotten increasingly angry at public schooling, have increasingly felt like public schools dictate to them," he submits. "This is just one of many ways that they're saying they're not going to be told what to do anymore."

Because of that growing frustration, he expects there will be more boycotts.

Meanwhile, New York's Education Department has downplayed the skip rate, noting participation improved slightly from 2019.

There are no consequences for students who do not sit for the state exams, but officials encourage participation because the grades help the department assess what is taking place in the classroom.