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Astorino's Children To Boycott Common Core Exams

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - The children of County Executive and New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be among thousands of students boycotting the New York State Common Core English Language Arts exam on Tuesday, April 1, Astorino announced in a video released Monday, March 31.

"After speaking at length with my wife, Sheila, who's a special education teacher, I am announcing today that my children will join with thousands of other school kids tomorrow, statewide, in refusing to take the Cuomo Common Core test," he said.

Astorino said while his children will still attend school on Tuesday, they will opt out of the exam -- which will be taken by children grades three through eight.

Several parent groups are citing the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth amendments as legal backup for their decision to withhold their children from the exam, which they believe is causing undue stress on their children by emphasizing competitive test scores over the well-being and individual learning needs of children.

"Tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of New York children, from third through eighth grade, will arrive at school and be told to serve as guinea pigs in one of the most untested education experiments in U.S. history," Astorino said.

In the video, Astorino criticized the origin of the new Common Core standards, which have been very controversial across the country and in the state, saying it was not crafted with proper oversight by educators and parents, and instead from "from Bill Gates and, later, Washington bureaucrats -- the geniuses who brought us Obamacare."

Like many throughout New York, some Westchester parents say that the national standards have brought excessive testing for students and an unfair evaluation system for teachers.

“They put the kids through the ringer last year, and they felt overwhelmed and stressed about it,” said Heather LaFortezza, who has five children in the Chappaqua Central School District.

Astorino said many parents, including he and his wife, have sat up countless nights with their children, who were "frustrated to tears by math methods that left us all scratching our heads."

"From what we have seen so far, Cuomo's Common Core may be damaging their education, not helping it," he said. "Our family's protest tomorrow is a symbolic one. But as parents we think it's important to take a stand. Our children aren't Guinea Pigs, Governor Cuomo, and we want them educated by teachers - not faceless bureaucrats in Washington."

Are your children opting out of the ELA on Tuesday? Join the conversation below.

@suzannesamin

ssamin@dailyvoice.com