ALBANY, N.Y. January 13, 2014 - New York State United Teachers today said failures by the State Education Department and Education Commissioner John King Jr. to properly implement the Common Core learning standards have corrupted the framework needed to establish a valid and fair teacher evaluation system.
"Once again, the commissioner is deliberately attempting to deflect attention from his failed implementation plan and obsession with testing by blaming everyone but himself," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "NYSUT, like many stakeholders, committed to a framework that had the potential to make the Common Core about raising standards, and teacher evaluations about improving classroom instruction. The commissioner and SED have corrupted both with their obsession over standardized testing and data collection, instead of teaching and learning. Teachers and principals should be held accountable and students should be striving to reach higher standards but, sadly, the commissioner and State Education Department are more interested in playing the corporate numbers game than improving the educational experience for students and educators."
Last week, Iannuzzi said "mounting frustration" over King's refusal to listen to concerns from parents and teachers, and make necessary course corrections would lead him to seek a "no confidence" vote from the union's Board of Directors this month, and from NYSUT's Representative Assembly in April.
NYSUT is calling for a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences for students and teachers from standardized testing to give SED time to "get it right." Iannuzzi said a three-year moratorium "would allow New York State to make amendments to the Common Core, incorporating input from experienced educators in curriculum development and achieving better alignment of assessments and instruction before attaching high-stakes consequences."
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members. Members are pre-K-12 teachers; school-related professionals; higher education faculty; other professionals in education, human services and health care; and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.