Urban Opt Out Statistics in NY State

Test refusals happen in every community in New York

New York City, State, and Federal education officials have tried to portray the opt out movement as a suburban, white, middle class phenomenon. In reality, opt out exists in every part of the state, and in every district in NYC. Even more surprisingly (especially if you rely on media coverage for your information), the State's own data* show that in most city school districts, including NYC, the majority of test refusers are economically disadvantaged.** 

The urban school districts in our charts below enroll more than 45% of New York State’s public school students. While opt out remains small in NYC, several other large cities in our state have have substantial opt out movements. (Data from 2017)


In every city, including NYC, the children who are opting out are more likely to be economically disadvantaged. (Data from 2017)


In NYC over 60% of the children who opted out of the ELA were economically disadvantaged, 47% of the children were students with disabilities, and over 12% are English Language Learners. (Data from 2017)


To see just how widespread opt out has been across New York State take a look at this map from 2016. New York City is the only area where opt out numbers remain small. One reason opt out is less common in NYC is because many parents are not aware that they have this right. 


For more information see: A Deeper Dive: Testing, Race, & Class and Race, Class, & Opt Out and our videos of the event: A Standardized Test Is A Poor Substitute For Justice

* Go to the NYSED website and download the District-Level Test Refusal File
See NYSED Glossary of Terms for definition of economically disadvantaged.