Friday: Teachers Warn Against 'Obsessive' Testing
If you have a child in third grade through eighth grade, you should know about the new 'common core' tests being given in mid-April.
And the state's largest teacher's union is warning those tests have been rushed, with neither students nor teachers having enough time to prepare.
The 'common core' tests are in English and math, and are being given in several states across the country. They're part of a movement to set a nationwide standard for what children learn.
In New York, however, the New York State United Teachers union (NYSUT) calls the testing 'obsessive.'
"The rush to test is leaving students and teachers out to dry," said Carl Korn, union spokesman.
Student results from the first year of common core testing are widely expected to be lower than the tests they replace.
In theory, the results of this year's tests will be used to evaluate teacher performance. However, school officials say some leeway will be given.
"This is new to everybody and so we have taken that into account writing these plans for annual professional performance reviews," said Jay Boak, superintendent of Jefferson-Lewis BOCES.
(Teachers are for the first time being evaluated under new rules in which their performance is judged in part on how well their students do, and in part on classroom observations made by school administrators.)
Union officials argue the testing is being rushed, to which state officials point out the common core standards have been in the works for three years. True, says the teachers union, but only recently have the standards taken shape enough for teaching materials to be prepared - and teachers and students just haven't had enough time with the new materials to be fairly evaluated.
NYSUT feels strongly enough about it that the union took out newspaper ads across the state this week.
The state education department has pushed back, issuing a statement Thursday that "It's hard to understand how some can claim that they are being caught unprepared for the change. It's equally difficult to understand why anyone would suggest that the change is happening too quickly for teachers and students, when the exact opposite is true."
Tuesday, September 30, 2014, Watertown, NY
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