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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Teacher union ad campaign targets tests
(Page 2 of 2)

A March memo from Ken Slentz, a deputy education commissioner, advised superintendents to take into account that student progress was being measured against more rigorous standards when making employment decisions. He said teachers would have a fair chance to do well, however, because they will be compared based on similar measures.

Just last month, Oceanside School Superintendent Herb Brown warned parents and board of education members that student test scores on the coming tests will be much lower than those achieved in the past.

NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said teachers and their students have not been equally prepared for the tests, with some districts moving more enthusiastically than others toward implementation of the new standards. In a survey of 1,600 teachers earlier this year, 65 percent said their students lacked access to textbooks and materials aligned to the standards, he said.

“To count this testing for any kind of high stakes, it defies logic and is unethical,” Iannuzzi told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

He said teachers have been writing letters by the thousands to state education leaders for the past month spelling out the test-related stresses in their classrooms.

The $250,000 ad campaign was launched to bolster the effort with the hope of action by the Education Department, Gov. Andrew Cuomo or the Legislature, he said.

“I felt we had an obligation to share the reality with parents,” Iannuzzi said.

I n a news release, Education Commissioner John King acknowledged the calls to delay aligning assessments to the higher standards. “Any major change initiative comes with anxiety and challenges,” King said.

But he said students did not have time to wait to be held accountable for standards designed to improve their futures.

“Only about 35 percent of our students graduate with the skills and knowledge necessary to be called college- and career ready,” he said. “That’s why the (Board of) Regents moved forward so decisively ... They understand that going slow means denying thousands of students the opportunity to be

successful.”

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