ALBANY, N.Y. May 25, 2011 - As a consequence of the Regents' vote to allow school districts to potentially double the weight of flawed standardized tests in evaluating teachers and principals, New York State United Teachers today formally withdrew from an upcoming State Education Department conference that would have highlighted ways districts and unions could work collaboratively to design strong evaluation systems.
NYSUT said the Regents' 11th-hour reversal "breached faith with unions, made a mockery of the concept of 'collaboration' and made meaningful participation in this conference impossible."
"The State Education Department and Board of Regents had an opportunity to build on nearly a year of collaborative work with teachers and other stakeholders to implement a rigorous, comprehensive and transparent teacher evaluation system," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Instead, the Regents ignored the voice of teachers; undermined more than a year of good-faith work and turned their backs on the concept of partnership. Participation of state and local teacher union leaders in a conference aimed at a building collaboration would appear to be, at this point, counter-productive."
Iannuzzi said today's announcement follows up on NYSUT's vow to suspend collaboration with the State Education Department and Regents for the foreseeable future
The June 13-14 conference at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations would have brought to Ithaca about 100 teams of superintendents, school board presidents, local and state union leaders and others. The State Education Department wanted to help teams design strategies for aligning student learning to teacher and principal evaluation systems. The teams would also have heard success stories from teams that have already collectively bargained new evaluation systems.
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.