Mike Schirtzer rises, raises motion for next month on behalf of MORE, to support I Refuse Movement. Circulates it. Mulgrew says it needs a simple majority to be placed on agenda.
Mike says has been passed by several locals, that testing regime is out of hand, and that we should oppose high stakes testing. Says test prep saps joy from teaching, helps neither us nor our students. Kills creativity, critical thinking so we can do non stop test prep. Says we must starve the beast, that MOSL is junk science. Says if we’re gonna go to war against Cuomo, let’s take high stakes testing away from him.
Sterling Robeson rises to speak against resolution, says we are against overtesting, but that we need tools to help drive instruction. Says parents need tests to ensure that they’re getting the “education they deserve.” Says we’ve supported this issue “from teachers of Chicago,” and in early grades. Says we’ve enforced it and reemphasized it over and over. States there is difference between opting out and refusing. Says it tells folks to tell their kids to refuse. Although there are pieces that are appealing to us, it goes to far. Urges this motion be defeated.
Mulgrew holds vote, I did not hear him declare outcome (it was clearly voted down, I would say 2-1) takes point of personal privilege, says he understands passion around this issue. Says resolution is out of order because it asks us to make decision about NYSUT. Speaks of how parents want tests. Says we’re in a fight and have to be smart about it, that we ought not to take a boilerplate resolution that was put together in other places. Says we should be against high stake.
No surprise on this, of course - it's the same rationale the AFT used for pushing for testing to remain in the NCLB Jr. bill being cobbled together in Washington.
Thing is, I'm sure there are some parents who think standardized tests are useful and important.
And then there are a whole bunch of them who think they're harmful, especially when attached to high stakes.
That second group is much louder than the first - and, if protests and social media activity are any gauge, it's growing by the day
Perhaps Mulgrew knows something I don't know and he sees Nixon's "Silent Testing Majority" out there supporting high stakes tests.
But more than likely the UFT President has his marching orders from the AFT President who takes her marching orders from the moneyed interests she so respects (a la Bill Gates and the like) that testing must be defended no matter what.
Thing is, they're on the wrong side of history on this, as are many of the civil rights groups that defend high stakes testing as the only way to assure quality education for all (some of those groups are also on the Gates payroll, btw, so they have other interests besides looking out for civil rights.)
The opt out movement and the anti-testing movement will continue to grow, and if Cuomo gets his way on his reform agenda and gets to tie 50% of a teacher's rating to tests, he's just throwing wood on the bonfire.
The testing obsession has reached a tipping point with large numbers of parents (as has Common Core) and Mike Mulgrew's defense of it won't save the Endless Testing regime any more than his promise to punch anybody who takes away his Common Core will save CCSS.