The New York State United Teachers union dealt a major blow to the Common Core curriculum standards at its board meeting Saturday.
The teachers’ union withdrew its support of Common Core and cast a vote of “no confidence” in the state’s Education Commissioner John King, Jr. – calling for his removal.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said in a statement on the group’s website:
“Educators understand that introducing new standards, appropriate curriculum and meaningful assessments are ongoing aspects of a robust educational system. These are complex tasks made even more complex when attempted during a time of devastating budget cuts. [State Education Department’s] implementation plan in New York state has failed. The commissioner has pursued policies that repeatedly ignore the voices of parents and educators who have identified problems and called on him to move more thoughtfully. Instead of listening to and trusting parents and teachers to know and do what’s right for students, the commissioner has offered meaningless rhetoric and token change. Instead of making the major course corrections that are clearly needed, including backing a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences for students and teachers from state testing, he has labeled everyone and every meaningful recommendation as distractions.”
The union has been “sounding warning bells since 2011,” NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said in the statement, criticizing the over-emphasis on standardized testing, a rushed timeline for implementation and unrealistic assessments for Common Core state standards, according to NYSUT.org.
The group is seeking a number of actions to remedy the current situation in the schools, including more time to implement lesson plans and consult with parents about their concerns. A moratorium is being sought on consequences of the “high-stakes” standardized testing and postponement of Common Core exams required of graduating seniors.
“The clock is ticking and time is running out,” Neira said. “Students sit for a new battery of state assessments in just a few months. It’s time to hit the ‘pause button’ on high stakes while, at the same time, increasing support for students, parents and educators. A moratorium on high-stakes consequences would give SED and school districts time to make the necessary adjustments.”
The New York union’s action is an affront to the National Education Association, who supports the Common Core curriculum. Opponents of the movement see this as positive, with opposition no longer confined to parents and activists, according to Politico.
“Were this a small union no one would take notice,” Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute, a think tank opposing Common Core, told Politico. “But the size and breadth of NYSUT tells even the casual observer that the wheels are coming off Common Core in New York.”
NYSUT.org said the statewide union represents more than 600,000 members who are pre-K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, other education professionals and retirees. The resolution will be brought to 2,000 delegates at the Representative Assembly in April.
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