ALBANY, N.Y. October 22, 2013 - New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi today issued the following statement in response to the State Education Department's release of composite scores stemming from teacher evaluations:
"One thing I know from 34 years as a classroom teacher and from visiting schools throughout the state is that New York's teaching force is highly effective. New York's teachers are dedicated, highly skilled professionals who go the extra mile for students every single day. While the composite scores taken as a whole may be consistent with this reality, they don't capture what really occurs in classrooms across this state each and every day. The state's rushed implementation of Common Core and last April's testing debacle call into question the use of these scores in any high-stakes decisions affecting individual teachers or students.
"Releasing these scores demonstrates once again that at our State Education Department, the climate is about testing and numbers instead of teaching and learning. SED's fixation with evaluation and the over-emphasis on testing ignores its own failure to implement Common Core in a thoughtful and meaningful way. The focus must return to students and how they learn. Students and teachers are more than a score.
"SED must turn its attention away from its obsession with testing and back to its responsibility for providing the time, tools, resources and professional development needed to achieve the potential of the Common Core. Contrary to the commissioner's statement, the state must listen to parents' and teachers' call for a moratorium on high-stakes consequences to allow the time to get it right with Common Core implementation and to restore public confidence in New York's public education system. Until then, parents and teachers will remain frustrated and outraged, and students will be denied the high-quality education that they deserve."
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.
Regent Roger Tilles, left, and NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi listen as NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira makes a point during a break in the Regents meeting Monday. NYSUT sent a letter to the Regents officially requesting a moratorium on the high stakes consequences for students and teachers resulting from new state standardized tests. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.