NYSUT leaders reaffirmed the union's continued activism against unfair testing while members pledged to ramp up action locally in the weeks ahead.
More than 200 Long Island educators dialogued with NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi and Vice President Maria Neira during the third stop of the union's statewide "Tell it like it is" listening tour.
The officers heard from music, art and special education teachers and social workers who gave first-hand accounts about how the state's obsession with testing is hurting students and educators.
A number of educators spoke out about how the state is moving so fast on Common Core testing for grades 3-8 students teachers have not had the time nor the tools to include Common Core instruction into the curriculum.
"These assessments - at this time - are unfair and should not be used to make high-stakes decisions for students or teachers," said Neira. She assured the crowd that NYSUT has provided evidence to the State Education Department that shows many school districts have not yet been able to fully implement Common Core. "You can trust that your union will take all measures to make sure no harm is brought to students or teachers," she said.
NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi said the rocky implementation of Common Core by the State Education Department is derailing what could be a positive initiative.
He also spoke of NYSUT's leadership on a number of fronts, including its lobbying on the state budget earlier this week in Albany and its vigorous court challenge of the state's tax cap. Members and local presidents in turn shared painful stories about the impact the one-two whammy of reduced state aid and the state cap is having locally. One local leader said his district might reduce the teaching force by 25 percent in the year ahead.
NYSUT Board member Nadia Resnikoff of Middle Country Teachers Association moderated the two-hour dialogue. The next stops on the tour later this month take place in Tarrytown and the North Country.