April 2013 Issue
March 29, 2013

Testing: Urging parents to join fight

Source: NYSUT United

An open letter about testing: what parents and community members need to knowNYSUT is ramping up its campaign against too much testing — reaching out to parents, school boards and community members to join the fight.

With an ad buy on key websites and newspapers around the state, the union launched an open letter to parents and community members in late March, urging them to sign an online petition calling upon the state education commissioner and Board of Regents to end the madness.

The letter clearly lays out how unfair it is for SED to roll out new standardized tests based on Common Core Learning Standards this month — before many students have been exposed to the new curriculum. (See full letter.)

The petition demands that SED use this year's exams only to measure the state's progress in introducing Common Core standards — NOT for high-stakes decisions affecting students or teachers.

Local unions are also working with local school boards to pass resolutions urging SED to stop its obsession with standardized testing.

The parent petition, school board resolution and ad campaign are all outgrowths of the "Tell it like it is" online letter-writing campaign and the statewide listening tour by NYSUT officers Dick Iannuzzi and Maria Neira.

The union also created a new microsite at http://testing.nysut.org, which includes a direct link to the parent petition and a Q&A for parents to learn more about alternatives to standardized tests. The site also offers tips from school psychologists on how parents can help their children reduce test anxiety.

Members should feel free to tell parents about the online petition and distribute materials about the new testing website. Talk to your local president about possible activities to expand communication with parents and other interested community members.