The state’s largest and most powerful teacher’s union on Saturday issued a declaration of “no confidence” in state Education Commissioner John King, a symbolic but unprecedented gesture calling for King’s removal from his post by the state Board of Regents.
New York State United Teachers’ 80-member board of directors unanimously approved the resolution Saturday during the board’s regular meeting.
The resolution states that the board declares “no confidence in the policies of the Commissioner of Education.” Earlier this month, NYSUT president Richard Iannuzzi announced that he would seek the action in an interview on Time Warner’s “Capital Tonight” program.
NYSUT’s board also withdrew its support for the state’s new Common Core learning standards “as implemented and interpreted in New York” until the State Education Department “makes major course corrections” and “supports a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences from standardized testing.”
“SED’s implementation plan in New York state has failed,” said Iannuzzi in a statement. “The commissioner has pursued policies that repeatedly ignore the voices of parents and educators who have identified problems and called on him to move more thoughtfully.”
While these moves will not make the Andy Cuomo contingent of the state union happy - namely Mike Mulgrew and the UFT leadership - they surely will make many in the rank-and-file around the state happy.
Frankly, I wish the NYSUT had withdrawn support from the CCSS for good, but I understand why they're taking the tack that they will withdraw support from the CCSS until SED "makes major course corrections” and “supports a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences from standardized testing.”
Given how SED is not going to do either of those, the NYSUT pretty much just withdrew support for Common Core today.
Here is what NYSUT wants done in order for support for the CCSS and the SED Commissioner to return:
- Completion of all modules, or lessons, aligned with the Common Core and time for educators to review them to ensure they are grade-level appropriate and aligned with classroom practice;
- Better engagement with parents, including listening to their concerns about their children’s needs;
- Additional tools, professional development and resources for teachers to address the needs of diverse learners, including students with disabilities and English language learners;
- Full transparency in state testing, including the release of all test questions, so teachers can use them in improving instruction;
- Postponement of Common Core Regents exams as a graduation requirement;
- The funding necessary to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve the Common Core standards. The proposed Executive Budget would leave nearly 70 percent of the state’s school districts with less state aid in 2014-15 than they had in 2009-10; and
- A moratorium, or delay, in the high-stakes consequences for students and teachers from standardized testing to give the State Education Department – and school districts – more time to correctly implement the Common Core.
The Times Union reported SED had no comment on today's events.