NY Times agrees with NYSUT: End testing obsession

A recent New York Times editorial headlined “The Trouble with Testing Mania” struck all the right chords in its dissection of this nation’s overemphasis on standardized testing and the misuse of the test results to, in effect, punish both students and their teachers. It is a message on which NYSUT has been a vocal leader, joined enthusiastically by parents and other education activists as evidenced by the success of the “One Voice United” rally on June 8.

Here’s NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi’s response to the Times editorial:

“This editorial says a lot; it validates our ongoing strategy to get it right! As we’ve said before, testing has its place. NYSUT fully acknowledges the important role of accountability. But it must be testing done right, it must be a tool, not a weapon.

“NYSUT also agrees that the new Common Core learning standards have great potential. But, to reach that potential, the standards must be implemented fairly, with adequate time, resources and support. That was not what occurred this year.  New York state policymakers must listen to the thousands of voices that have been raised — at our rally, in meetings, in letters and petitions — and that they let teachers teach and students learn in a creative, nurturing environment.”

Iannuzzi pointed to the Times editorial as further evidence that our voice is being heard. In the days leading up to the June 8 rally and in the weeks immediately following, there were some positive developments out of both Albany and Washington, DC — developments that indicated a willingness to “get it right.”

In his latest NYSUT United column, Iannuzzi wrote: “While none of these developments should be tied directly to one event, some linkage can’t be ignored. At the top of that list is AFT President Randi Weingarten’s call for a moratorium on high-stakes testing and her ability to garner support from across the education spectrum. Our strategy to give voice to practitioners though the ‘Tell it like it is’ listening tour and to all stakeholders at the ‘One Voice United’ rally also played a major role.  …

“Each of these milestones marks a point on a journey, and the strategies that define that journey will be guided by the voices of practitioners and by NYSUT’s values and principles. That journey continues …”

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