This belongs in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category. Also in the someone-is-actually-getting-paid-to-do-this category.

In New York State this past spring, some 20 percent of students refused to take high-stakes Common Core standardized tests.  Parents and students who did had various reasons, including as a protest against the tests themselves and the invalid use of student scores on the tests to evaluate teachers.

Instead of taking a hard look at the evaluation system or the tests, the New York State Education Department has put together an “Assessments Toolkit” for superintendents to try to lure back the opt-outs.The Web site says:

This toolkit is intended to help superintendents communicate with parents and educators in their districts about the value and importance of the annual Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math Tests. The toolkit is completely optional and contains customizable materials such as a letter to parents, a PowerPoint presentation about the higher learnings standards and assessments, and sample Twitter and Facebook posts. Superintendents are encouraged to check out these materials and use them if they would be an effective way to reach their parents and educators. Additional resources will be added in the coming weeks and months, so please check back often.

Yes, folks in the NYSED apparently think that an assessment toolkit can win over parents so opposed to the administration of the tests and use of the scores that they didn’t let their children take them despite threats that schools could lose funding.

As noted above, the toolkit consists of sample letters and (my favorite) sample social media posts, complete with the best times to send them and guidance on when to use Twitter and Facebook.  Here they are, from the site, in case you, too, want to use them:

These social media posts can be used as is or modified for your school community.

Facebook vs. Twitter

  • Most adults are more likely to engage via Facebook. All Twitter content suggested below can also be posted on Facebook.
  • Twitter is most effective in the morning (8:15 am) or later in the evening (5-10 pm).
  • Facebook posts are effective at any point throughout the day.

Sample Tweets



Sample Facebook Posts

  • Whether they want to go to college or straight into a career, students need to be able to think critically and solve complex, real-world problems. New York’s assessments measure the progress our students are making. [DISTRICT NAME] is committed to setting students up for success. For more information about these assessments, visit:
  • State assessments serve as an academic checkup and help to identify whether students need additional support so they can stay on track for the next grade level. Learn more here:
  • No single test provides a complete picture of student achievement. But when combined with grades and teacher reports, annual assessments provide important information about a student’s progress. For more information about New York’s assessments, visit: