APPR/Teacher Evaluation, Testing/Assessments & Learning Standards
March 11, 2014

Teacher on Common Core panel dissents; calls report 'incomplete'

Author: Todd Hathaway
Source:  NYSUT Media Relations
Caption: Teacher Todd Hathaway delivers testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on Education in October. File photo by Dennis Stierer.

EAST AURORA, N.Y. March 11, 2014 - Todd Hathaway, a teacher at East Aurora High School and a member of the Governor’s Common Core Panel, today dissented from the panel’s report. NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi today said the union fully supports the dissent. Here is Hathaway's full statement:

"The report - and the process that produced it - is incomplete. The report was released suddenly, even as final comments were still being solicited.  I had indicated the likelihood I would dissent and not allow the report to be spun as 'consensus.' Nevertheless, the report was issued with my name attached. I am very concerned that the report tries to make it seem like all the discussion had been completed.  In fact, the Executive Office repeatedly ignored my concerns and the legitimate concerns of others about inappropriate state testing, the misuse of invalid tests for evaluations and the lack of transparency in state testing. The result is that some of the report’s conclusions and suggestions do not hold up to scrutiny. I wouldn’t accept this kind of work from my students and I don’t accept it here."

"The failure to address testing and evaluation issues in a comprehensive way suggests the dynamics of the classroom will not change.  The report seems to blame everybody else for the problems of the Common Core learning standards without adequately addressing the appropriateness of some of the standards and the testing that goes with it. This report should have addressed serious deficiencies in state testing. It should have discussed the lack of transparency in tests; the lack of diagnostic and prescriptive worth to teachers; the unacceptable delays in returning scores to school districts and the insanity of pretending there is validity to teacher ratings that are derived from student scores widely acknowledged to be invalid."

"Finally, this panel should have recognized the need to pause in the use of assessments for high-stakes decisions for students and teachers. This would have allowed the State Education Department, as well as school districts, to refine the tests and testing materials; teachers to engage in the standards and develop a variety of lessons to meet them instead of just relying on modules; parents to understand the role and utility of data in education; and for teachers to receive the necessary professional development. Implementing massive curriculum changes do not just happen overnight. They take time. I fully support a delay in the use of tests in high-stakes decisions for students and teachers, but that issue was never fully explored.  You can’t put students first if you put their teachers last."