August 28, 2013

As new school year nears, NYSUT stands with parents

Source: NYSUT Media Relations
Caption: NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi addresses more than 2,000 parents, students, educators and community members at a recent rally for "Students, Not Scores" in Port Jefferson Station on Long Island. Photo by Jonathan Fickies.

ALBANY, N.Y. Aug. 28, 2013 - As parents are learning their children's state standardized test scores and school districts finalize teacher evaluations, New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi today released the following statement:

"In the coming days, school districts across the state will be completing evaluations for tens of thousands of teachers, and, in many cases, scrambling at the last minute because they've just received teacher scores resulting from April's standardized tests. At the same time, many New York parents are preparing to send their children back to school, surely shocked and outraged to learn their children's scores dropped precipitously, and justifiably anxious about broad-brush statements that their children have veered off the road to college- and career-readiness.

"This year's performance data is, in effect, meaningless. It doesn't accurately measure student achievement or teacher effectiveness. Despite repeated warnings from teachers, administrators and superintendents to slow down and get it right, the State Education Department proceeded with a premature implementation of Common Core testing that resulted in students being tested on material they may not have been taught. To be clear, the only thing these student test scores show is that the state is still not able to measure student and teacher performance accurately.

"Students and teachers are more than a test score. Teachers and parents are confident these misleading scores do not define their children, nor do they define their children's caring, dedicated and professional educators.

"NYSUT continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with parents in our shared belief that neither students nor their teachers should suffer the consequences of an obsession with high-stakes testing. Indeed, standardized testing is only one of myriad factors that go into defining student performance and teacher effectiveness. NYSUT will take every possible step to ensure that the state's testing system is not used against students or teachers, and we will vigorously advocate for and defend any teacher subjected to professional harm from the misuse of useless data.

"Despite the stress and anxiety these scores are producing, I am confident that teachers and parents will work collaboratively to ensure a smooth start to this school year. Together we will continue to fight for the future of public education; for the funding and programs students need to succeed; and to demand that state education policymakers get it right."

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.

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