Union leader: Students, teachers need time to 'get it right'
ALBANY—New York's powerful teachers' union criticized state education commissioner John King Tuesday after the leader called the union's push to downplay the significance of recent state exams a “distraction.”
New York State United Teachers has called for a three-year moratorium on using state exam results for “high-stakes” decisions regarding teachers or students. The union claims the state did not provide schools with enough time to prepare for last April's exams, which were the first to be based on more difficult curriculum standards, called the Common Core.
The test scores, which nearly 70 percent of students failed, will also be used to rate educators as part of a new evaluation system that could lead to “ineffective” teachers losing their jobs.
“Once again, Commissioner King is trying to use NYSUT’s support for the potential of the Common Core and the legislative framework for a fair evaluation system as a smokescreen to cover up his rushed and poorly executed attempt at implementation,” NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s shocking that the commissioner is dismissing the voices he has heard for two years as no more than ‘special interests.'
“They are desperately asking for the time and tools to get it right," he continued. “These are the voices of parents and teachers who care deeply about how to properly maximize the value of public education and want to help students reach higher standards.
“If Commissioner King doesn’t understand that NYSUT’s call for a moratorium is not a distraction but rather a genuine call for a course correction, then we need someone who does," he said.