A few weeks ago, I chided mainstream media outlets for how they covered the New Jersey testing rollout.
Are they doing any better this week, with New York?
It's a mixed bag, with several outlets yet to show their stuff.
Some of them are doing quite well, treating the story carefully:
The WSJ's Leslie Brody reports that there are pockets of opt-outs but wide variations from one place to another (including just one kid opting out in East Harlem).
Others seem to be focused on making the opt-out numbers seem as big as possible, without bothering to verify numbers (or do much math).
The NY Daily News passes along a 300,000-student estimate of opt outs that is, far as I can tell, just a number a district superintendent pulled out of thin air. The headline for a NY Daily News piece by Rick Hess calls the opt-outs a "tsunami," which seems wildly overstated given what we know at this point. (He's much better in this US News piece about ending the reform wars.)
Last year, as you may recall, the opt-out number turned out to be only about 70,000 statewide, and the NYC number was less than 2,000.
Lots of folks are missing from the field, so far at least, perhaps because of the lack of any hard numbers to work with:
I haven't seen a NYT story on this yet - perhaps one is in the works. A Kyle Spencer piece that came out before testing started noted that opting out was less common in most parts of the city last year and that even parents who don't agree with the tests struggle to pull kids out.
Some folks are angry about this:
WNYC did a piece about parents being pressured one way and the other and has done several call-in segments about the pros and cons of opting out, but has yet to produce reporting on the trend.
NY governor Cuomo and NYC's Carmen Farina aren't commenting or providing real-time numbers, creating a vacuum. Governor Cuomo also ratcheted up pressure on the tests this year by calling for 50 percent of teacher evaluations to come from student test score results.