For Immediate Release:
While Governor Cuomo is Waging War Against Public Schools, Parents and Teachers Call For An End To Unjust Testing!
Public education as we know it is in mortal danger here in New York State. The anti-public education Governor Andrew Cuomo is attempting to get rid of what is left of teacher, parent and student rights with his destructive agenda for our schools.
Parents statewide are opting their children out of standardized testing, but Cuomo has rejected this call and wants to add more value to these tests by tying a majority of teacher’s evaluations to standardized exam scores.
Public school educators from all around the state stand stand firmly with parents and our students who have decided to opt-out. Instead of attacking public education, we call on Cuomo to come visit our schools, speak with children, parents, and teachers. These misguided attacks are taking away from the real issues that are harming our schools; child poverty, lack of resources, class sizes, and narrowed curriculum due to the over emphasis on standardized testing.
Unfortunately our UFT leadership does not feel the same. Our caucus, The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), raised the “I Refuse” resolution at the February 11th UFT Delegate Assembly. It calls for union opposition to standardized high stakes testing that is currently pushed by the Federal and State governments, because this testing is not being used to further instruction for children, to help children, or to support the educational needs of children. The UFT leadership voted against this resolution.
MORE also supports it because, “assessment practices that accompany Common Core State Standards – including the political manipulation of test scores – are used as justification to label and close schools, fail students, and evaluate educators”.
The speaker opposing the resolution representing our union leadership said “standardized testing is necessary” and refused to stand with parents, students, classroom teachers and over forty teacher unions from all across the state.
MORE member, public school parent and teacher, Jia Lee testified to the United States Senate that “the focus on testing has taken valuable resources and time away from programming in social studies, the arts and physical education. At my school, we no longer have a librarian and our parent association works full-time to fund needed arts programs that are not provided for in our budget.”
The use of standardized test scores to evaluate students and teachers has been proven to be invalid, as Ms. Lee stated: “The American Statistical Association has warned The Value Added Measured scores themselves have large standard errors, even when calculated using several years of data. These large standard errors make rankings unstable, even under the best scenarios for modeling. In New York State, the tests change every year, and the cut scores shift.”
The time has come for UFT leadership and Governor Cuomo to listen to class-room teachers, our students, and their parents in ending their support for the non-stop testing of our children.
About MORE: MORE is a caucus in the UFT that organizes for a member-driven union. We fight for the public schools our children deserve. “Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions!”