Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

UFT Leadership Still Doesnt Realize The Problem Is The Common Core

James Eterno writes at ICEUFT blog that the UFT Executive Board passed a resolution on Monday night calling for a moratorium on the high stakes part of the new ADVANCE teacher evaluation system.

This moratorium call, btw, would be the same thing Randi Weingarten called for a while back.

But the UFT Executive Board did not call for an end to the punitive and abusive Danielson observations, did not point out the absurdity of evaluating teachers based upon test scores of students they don't teach in subjects they're not licensed in, did not point out the harm using a value-added test score measurement with a margin of error the size of Randi Weingarten's ego will do to teachers and schools.

Oh, no - it didn't do any of that.

Rather, the UFT Executive Board hailed the Common Core State (sic) Standards "as a means toward ensuring that children in the city and across the country learn the critical thinking skills necessary for success in today’s competitive world."

Looks like they took that text directly from a Gates Foundation pamphlet or Arne Duncan's Twitter feed.

The leadership does not seem to realize that there is a rebellion growing from within the ranks over the Common Core State (sic) Standard as well as over the ADVANCE evaluation system.

As I posted previously, consequences of the Common Core State (sic) Standards have brought us this:

Kids are really starting to hate school and there has been a lot more acting out this year than in previous years.

Both math and ELA teachers who are teaching the new Common Core curriculum materials say students hate the new lessons and have grown disengaged with the learning process already (and it's only October!)

Guidance counselors are saying there have been many more problems that they're trying to deal with this year, things like conflict issues, depression and suicidal feelings.

Art teachers say the kids hate art class now because all they do is read articles about art and write argumentative essays about those articles.

One teacher said her own child seems to no longer have the same joy and enthusiasm for learning or for school that he once had - the stress of the testing has taken all of that from him.


The stress level for kids and teachers has been ratcheted up several levels, teachers and students are already feeling burnt out by the Common Core curriculum changes, teacher evaluation changes, the monthly diagnostic exams, and all the other changes wrought by the Race to the Top reforms, students are acting out or becoming disengaged from their classes and there are some serious social and emotional issues showing up more and more with the kids that ought to be a red flag to somebody (i.e., kids being taken to Bellevue for suicidal feelings, more kids being put on anti-depressants, more kids acting out with self-harming behaviors like cutting themselves, alcohol and drug use, etc.)

The UFT, the NYSUT, the AFT and the NEA leaderships must be made to realize that the problem is not that the testing is tied to high stakes, the problem is that the entire public school system is now built around data-driven Endless Standardized Testing all the year through.

There are diagnostics in every class every month, every subject has been turned into ELA, students do not get a reprieve from having to read informational texts and write argumentative essays in any class anymore - not even art, music, vocational training or gym. All the day all the day through is practice close reading exercises on informational texts they care nothing about and have no interest in.

These issues exist because they are at the core of the Core, if you will - this stuff is built into the new standards.

The UFT Executive Board can call for a moratorium on high stakes all they want (a useless gesture, btw - there is no way rookie teacher/NYSED Commissioner King is going to grant that.)

Until they work to end both the APPR teacher evaluation law AND the state's adherence to the Gates Foundation-funded Common Core state standards that turns every class into English Language Arts and takes all the joy and fun out of education and turns it into drudgery and tedium, there will be little to no improvement in the experiences of the students or teachers in NYC schools.

So thanks for the useless resolution, guys.

Means nothing in the big scheme of things.

Don't think many of us don't know that.


  1. The resolution is worse than useless, since it gives the false impression, intended to pacify the membership, that the union leadership is protecting our interests in this matter, rather than co-managing the implementation of the Common Corporate Standards and Danielson checklists along with the so-called reformers.

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