ALBANY, N.Y. Nov. 14, 2013 - New York State United Teachers, deeply concerned by effects of standardized testing on the state's youngest students, today joined with other education advocates to put forward a petition calling for a ban on standardized testing for students in pre-K through second grade.
NYSUT, along with the Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action of New York and its largest local affiliate, the United Federation of Teachers, called on the governor and Legislature, along with the Regents and state Education Department, to ban pre-K to second grade standardized testing. Other education groups are also expected to join the effort and publicize the petition to their members.
"The current use of standardized testing for pre-K through second grade is extreme and excessive, and should have no place in a state that values teaching and learning," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi, who taught elementary grades for 34 years in Central Islip on Long Island. "The governor and Legislature have an opportunity to restore and nurture the joy of learning in our state's youngest students by banning the misuse of testing at these levels and supporting a moratorium on high-stakes consequences at every level until SED works more closely with parents and educators to get it right."
NYSUT noted the years between pre-K and second grade are essential to developing students' cognitive skills and building a strong educational foundation. Young students also learn through hands-on experience, cultivating social relationships and learning to manage their emotions.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta, a career elementary school teacher in the Bronx, noted that, "The focus in the early grades must be on building a strong educational foundation and instilling in children a love for learning. Fill-in-the-bubble tests do none of this."
The petition can be found at www.nysut.org /recessfromtests.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.