Some NYC principals urge parents to join protest over ELA exam - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Some NYC principals urge parents to join protest over ELA exam

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - The principals of 27 elementary schools and one middle school in Lower Manhattan have sent a letter to their students' parents calling for a demonstration Friday against the New York State mandated ELA, or English language arts exam. This exam is for kids grades 3 to 8. It was administered over three days last week state wide. The ELA is designed to raise standards in all communities by standardizing reading and writing levels.

Last Friday the principal of P.S. 321 in Brooklyn led a demonstration against the ELA exam. The principals of these schools want to support her efforts. Their schools are considered some of the highest-performing public schools in the country. The principals say they support testing in general, but for two years the New York ELA exam was poorly constructed, confusing and even had product mentions like Nike and Barbie.

Bob Bender, the principal of the well-regarded P.S. 11 in Chelsea, called it a "terrible exam."

The ELA exam is not only constructed poorly, says principal Terri Ruyter of the high-performing P.S. 276 in Battery Park City, it is way too hard to kids.

These principals are also concerned that 40 percent of their teachers' performance is based on the results of the ELA and math exams in two weeks. They fear great teachers could be lost if a couple of 8-year-olds have a bad day.

So on Friday at 8 a.m., two dozen schools in Lower Manhattan and parents will demonstrate against an exam their principals say is poorly constructed and too difficult.

The city's Department of Education said in a statement: "It is of paramount importance for our schools to have an environment that is respectful of the diversity of opinion surrounding this issue as we support our principals, teachers and maintain a sense of calm for our students."

The New York Education Department has not responded to a request for comment.

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