ALBANY, N.Y. June 3, 2013 - New York State United Teachers today said it is pleased the state Education Department has heard the voices of high school science teachers statewide and reversed its previous position, which held teachers accountable for students who failed to meet lab requirements and did not qualify to take Regents' exams.
"Today's statement by a spokesperson for the State Education Department is a clear reversal of the department's previous position," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "NYSUT is pleased that the voices of science teachers, amplified by their union, have been heard. While the statement is a welcome change in position from guidance that NYSUT received in May, we will remain diligent in our advocacy for science teachers across the state until there is clear and formal guidance. Teachers and administrators deserve no less. It is incumbent upon the State Education Department to issue appropriate guidance immediately."
Iannuzzi was responding to newspaper reports in which NYSUT and the Science Teachers Association of New York State criticized the State Education Department for seeking to hold science teachers accountable on their annual evaluations, even when students did not complete the 1,200 minutes required to qualify to take the Regents exam. A lab requirement must be met to take the Regents' exam in living environment, earth science, chemistry and physics.
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.