ALBANY, N.Y. June 19, 2014 - New York State United Teachers today said it anticipates passage of a bill now before the Legislature that would establish a two-year moratorium protecting teachers from some of the worst consequences of the State Education Department's flawed roll-out of the Common Core standards, an essential step toward fixing what's wrong with the system.
"Hitting the ‘pause button' on high-stakes consequences for teachers - as we've done for students - is a necessary step toward reducing over-testing and restoring our focus on teaching and learning," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "Parents and teachers agree that it will take time to fix what's wrong with the system. That message is resonating today at the state Capitol."
She said Governor's Program Bill 56, introduced as Assembly Bill 10168, now under consideration by the Legislature, will "provide a very important ‘time out' that protects teachers from being unfairly penalized as a result of the rushed implementation of the Common Core. The state test scores that have been deemed invalid and unreliable for students would be deemed invalid and unreliable for penalizing teachers. Basic fairness prevails."
Magee expressed confidence this approach would pass muster with the U.S. Department of Education, which has signaled it would grant waivers under the Race to the Top program to states that delay using Common Core test results in teacher evaluations.
Magee said parents and teachers agree the 2010 teacher evaluation law put too much emphasis on standardized testing and data collection, while failing to properly recognize that teaching is an art that cannot be quantified by a standardized test or a one-size-fits-all evaluation system. She emphasized that teachers welcome fair evaluations, especially those from trained administrators who focus on professional learning, improving instruction and better addressing students' individual needs. "Teachers have always been evaluated annually. Those evaluations will continue - as they should," Magee said.
NYSUT said it appreciates the constructive dialogue with the Assembly, Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo that is advancing an outcome that will benefit students and their teachers.
NYSUT Vice President Andrew Pallotta said, "We must continue these discussions about fixing what's not working. That has to include reducing over-testing and recognizing that a student is not a test score - and neither is a teacher."
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.