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Union to ask state to delay testing on tougher curriculum

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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— New York State United Teachers plans to announce Wednesday that it is asking state education officials not to base this year’s standardized tests on the new Common Core curriculum.

NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said the union believes students in grades 3-8 will not be ready for tests on the new, more challenging curriculum, which New York has adopted along with other states to reflect what students should know by the time they graduate from high school. Schools have not received material to prepare for this new curriculum, he said.

“Good teaching says that you teach first and you assess afterwards,” he said. “We’re about to assess before teaching. And that’s not good practice.”

Under the state’s new teacher evaluation system, 20 percent of a teacher’s score is based on student performance on state tests. Another 20 percent is based on locally developed tests and the remaining 60 percent on traditional evaluation measures such as observation.

Iannuzzi didn’t rule out a lawsuit if teacher evaluations are negatively affected by lower test scores.

“If teachers receive poor evaluations or if their job status was threatened by this, we would probably look closely at this to pursuing their defense,” he said.

NYSUT is rolling out a media campaign, including full-page advertisements in local newspapers and online, which will provide a link to a parent petition that urges the state Education Department to reverse course. The ads and petition can also be found at www.nysut.org.

State education officials did not return a call seeking comment. In a statement on the website, however, Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said he understands a major change such as this new curriculum comes with anxiety and challenges, but the state cannot afford to wait to implement these changes to make sure students graduate high school ready for college and careers.

 
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