You may recall that earlier this month the president of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda school board raised the possibility of passing a motion to threaten withdrawing from New York's testing program. Then the superintendent hollered, "Hold on there, Tex!" and the board put the issue off until later.
Well, last night, later arrived, and the board voted to stand up, sort of, to the state.
The district is north of Buffalo, and it has been small but cranky on the subject of things like Cuomo's holding financial support hostage as well as the continued ignoring of the decade-old court ruling that New York needs to get its financial support for schools straightened out.
WGRZ quoted board president Bob Dana:
We have stepped forward and decided that enough is enough. We're sending
a message to Albany that we are going to consider boycotting
standardized testing and not using test scores to evaluate our students
and teachers. If they don't turn around and give us and every other
school district across the state what we have coming.
Dana told the crowd at the meeting that he'd been told that the state might remove the board of education and that financial penalties would also be leveled. But he told the Buffalo News, "We're not playing games anymore."
Superintendent Dawn Mirand repeated her opposition to the move, and the administrators union came out against it while the teachers union supported it. A straw poll was held by written ballot, and the crowd attending the meeting voted 281-22 in support of the move. One citizen told WIVB that he was willing to pay more in taxes if it would mean the state let teachers do their jobs.
It should be noted that the protest vote is in the mildest possible terms-- at this point the board has simply voted to "seriously consider" refusing to give the test to elementary students and to use test results to evaluate teachers. It remains to be seen what will happen once that serious consideration actually leads to action.
So this is not so much a bold assault on the state as it is inching up slowly and carefully to the Line and seeing how far across it they can go before the state decides to drop the hammer. So it's measured defiance, but defiance none-the-less. How far will the district go in telling the state to shove their tests up their big fat Niagara Falls? How far will the state go to punish those who dare to question their wisdom and power? Stay tuned.