As you may know, New York City public school students in grades 3-8 will be asked to take the NY State Assessment exams this spring. The English Language Arts (ELA) exam will be administered on April 2-3 and the Math exam will be held on May 1-2.

I wanted to be sure you’re aware that though New York State requires NYC public schools to offer these standardized tests — parents have the right to decide if their child will take the State tests or opt out. Students who do not take the tests are not subject to any penalty or disciplinary action, and an appropriate learning alternative will be offered to students whose parents opt them out of the tests.

As a result of years of advocacy, the city & state have made changes that meaningfully reduce the negative impact of high stakes testing. But we still spend too much time and emphasis on tests that are not sound, developmentally-appropriate ways to assess and support all our kids to reach their full potential.

In 2015, the NYC Council passed a resolution calling on the DOE to amend the Parent’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to include information about opting out of high-stakes testing and to distribute that information to parents at the start of each school year. I continue to call on the DOE to proactively inform parents about this right.

If you decide that your child will not take the tests, you must let your child’s principal know in writing of your choice. You can find more information on how to opt out from NYC Opt Out ( along with information on common questions that the assessments raise.

If you have questions or concerns about the upcoming tests, please contact Vicki Sell in my office at (718) 499-1090 or

We all need the space to make the right choices for our kids and families, and the ability to opt out of high stakes testing is one important way we can do it.


PS- On Monday, I joined Mayor de Blasio, NYC DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in announcing the launch of Meatless Mondays across NYC schools beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. Meatless Mondays will help improve the health and wellness of our students and serve as an important way the city can address environmental sustainability. The new menu will be reviewed by students before it is finalized for next fall.