Beth Dimino, an eighth-grade science teacher in the Comsewogue School District and president of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, will be the first Long Island teacher to “opt-out” of administering mandated state standardized tests this April.
An outspoken opponent of the Obama administration’s controversial Common Core education reforms—new academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) rolled out nationwide last year that have sparked protests among countless students, parents and teachers across Long Island and the country—Dimino was just one of several local school officials, elected officials, parents, and nonprofit leaders who railed out against the program at a rally last March at Comsewogue High School attended by hundreds of “Opt-Out” supporters.
More than 20,000 LI school children refused to take the state tests last April. No local teacher, however, has gone so far as Dimino to publicly voice his/her intention to refuse to even proctor the exams. She tells the Press her unprecedented decision is simply a matter of conscience, and spelled out as much in a recent letter to Comsewogue Superintendent Dr. Joe Rella, who’s also gone on record as a staunch Common Core dissident.
“I find myself at a point in the progress of education reform in which clear acts of conscience will be necessary to preserve the integrity of public education,” she writes, adapting her language from a template of a letter sent to New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farino by city schoolteachers/education advocates Colin Schumacher, Emmy Matias and Jia Lee—co-founders of a movement aimed at inspiring others to refuse administering the exams. “I can no longer implement policies that seek to transform the broad promises of public education into a narrow obsession with the ranking and sorting of children.