Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, January 25, 2016

Time For NYSUT To Take Real Steps To End The Endless Testing Regime

This is cross-posted from New York Rank & File and it's in response to the propaganda NYSUT has been spewing forth about there being a "moratorium" on the use of test scores in teacher evaluations (a claim that is patently false):

Rank and File Teachers Call on NYSUT Leadership to Do More
We are a coalition of educators motivated by a desire to provide our students with an authentic, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, and child-centered public education. As we near the 2016 testing season, hundreds of thousands of young learners will be asked to submit to 9 hours of flawed and harmful state assessments that reduce teaching and learning to a test score, narrow the curriculum, label the majority of children failures, and squander resources, ultimately providing no educational benefit.
While the opt out movement has captured the attention of policymakers,there has been no substantive change. The only change is that school districts must now use limited time and resources to negotiate another APPR plan that requires both more testing for NYS children and a continued focus on evaluating teachers through test scores.

Despite this glaring lack of relief for students, the state teachers union (NYSUT) has failed to sound the alarm, and instead has launched a million dollar member-funded “multi-media campaign to highlight progress.” While a campaign video vaguely states that “there is still a lot of work to do,” the campaign is absent of any call to action. A similar campaign by the UFT–the state’s largest local union, based in NYC–goes so far as to spread misinformation, making the false claim that teachers will not be evaluated by test scores for the next 4 years. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
As educators, we are committed to sharing factual information so that those impacted by these policies can make informed decisions. Here are the facts:
  • The Education Transformation Act of 2015 requires that 50% of  a teacher’s evaluation be based on a student performance measure. This will not change unless the law is amended.  
  • Although teachers will still receive a growth score based on state tests, a 4 year moratorium has been passed on the use of state-provided growth scores for NYS Grades 3-8 Common Core ELA and Math tests in teacher evaluations. 
  • ALL teachers will still be subject to a 50% test-based evaluation as per the law. Schools must administer an additional, locally determined assessment  (approved by the state department of education), and scores from that test will supplant the state test derived growth score in a teacher’s evaluation. 
  • Teachers will receive a “transitional score” during the moratorium. 50% of this score will be based on observation, and 50% will be based on the locally-determined assessment. This transitional score will be used for making tenure decisions, and as per the law can be used to fire a teacher.
  • While growth scores derived from the state tests may not be used for purposes of evaluation during the moratorium, they will still be recorded, and upon request be made available to parents. Teachers evaluated by Regents exams and by the 4th and 8th grade science tests will still be evaluated using those scores.
  • Once the moratorium is over, NYS will move to a three year average growth score. In other words, teachers will receive a growth score based on student performance from the previous 3 years. It is unclear whether or not state test growth scores captured during the moratorium will be used in the average growth score for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Based on flawed growth scores, schools will continue to be placed into receivership and subject to autocratic control. This will happen disproportionately in schools located in economically disadvantaged Black and Brown communities, as laid out in the Economic Policy Institute’s report, “The Racial Achievement Gap, Segregated Schools, and Segregated Neighborhoods – A Constitutional Insult.”
NYSUT officials recently responded to educators on social media calling for NYSUT to pursue an amendment to the law by stating that they believe the Regents will enact the 21 recommendations of the Common Core Task Force. In a recent interview on The Capital Pressroom, NYSUT President Karen Magee opined that it is “premature” to call for changes to the law and reiterated NYSUT’s belief that the Regents will implement the Common Core Task Force recommendations.

It should be noted that the Task Force has not recommended ANY changes to the focus on test scores in teacher evaluations, making this response irrelevant. While the task force pays lip service to the need for shorter tests, it fails to recommend any substantial change. For example, the Task Force report calls upon New York to follow the examples set by North Carolina, Texas, and New Mexico. The testing practices in these States are hardly positive role models for a reduction in testing. In North Carolina, testing has been reduced to a one day, four hour exam. In Texas, testing has been capped, forcing the average student to sit for 120 minutes, with no administration lasting more than eight hours. And in New Mexico, testing has been reduced by a paltry 15%. In New York, that would reduce 9 hours of testing for 10 year olds to 7.5 hours; some students with disabilities would still be forced to endure 15 hours of testing. This is cold comfort.

We call on the leaders of NYSUT and the UFT to suspend their misleading media campaigns. We also call for NYSUT to work for an immediate amendment to the education law 3012d, that requires teacher evaluations be based on high-stakes tests. Those tests will continue to count for 50% of teacher evaluations.  

Additionally, we call upon NYSUT leaders to launch a new, fact-based media campaign that will inform their members and the public that very little has changed for the children we serve. The continued requirement of students to participate in flawed and inappropriate testing this spring, as well as additional, local assessments (solely for the purposes of teacher evaluations) must stop. Furthermore, we demand that NYSUT urge all teachers to join the effort to save our profession, and to protect our students by refusing NYS tests in grades 3-8 for their own children.

Parents across New York State have labored for the past three years to protect their children and support educators. It is time that NYSUT and UFT leaders do the same. Now is not the time to lose the support of the public and our allies.


BATs (Badass Teachers)
MORE (Movement of Rank & File Educators)
Stronger Together Caucus
Teachers of Conscience
The following organizations support The Call to Stand Up for Students:
Long Island Opt Out
Bronx Educators United for Justice
Opt Out CNY
Change the Stakes
New York State Allies For Public Education
Lace to the Top
NYC Opt Out
Pencils Down Rockland County
NYS Receivership and NYC Renewal Schools Action Group
ReThinking Testing MidHudson
The Paperclip Revolution


  1. Hate to burst your bubble. However, the NYSUT does not care one bit about your petition. They are gonna ride the gravy train and take in as much mandatory dues from members right up till the Supreme Court case gets handed down this summer. Then it is game over for them.

  2. I think they are out the door. Basically, they are all looking for new jobs, so they don't care what happens to the union. Parents are angry at the union for running these misleading pro-Cuomo ads. We've now become the face of the enemy. Maybe leadership have cit a backroom deal for post-Freidrichs jobs in the Cuomo admin. I don't know, but, whatever deal they cut to run those ads certainly was not in the interest of teachers, parents, nor students.

  3. The balls of Bloomberg to decide that he wants to run for president highlights the major problem with this country. Any jerk like bloomshits, who has the money can run for the office. ANy jerk like bloomberg can destroy the traditional NYC high schools into these tiny little shit holes called high schools. ANy jerk like bloomberg can do what ever they want to this country - just because of the dollar.-- The brilliant scholar does not have a china mans chance of running for president because he or she do not have the dollar. Any jerk like bloomberg can decide, oh, i want to run for president and spend a billion dollars doing it. Any jerk like bloomberg would never spend that billion on poverty stricken areas that make up so many of our nyc schools. Any jerk like bloomberg can decide that they know everything so lets put all the real, experienced teachers aside and bring in stupid clueless principals and teachers to replace them and oh by the way, lets keep all of the experienced teachers in the conference room for all to see.

    1. Yeah Bloomberg has a lot of chutzpah thinking he can actually win the presidential election. If this jerk actually does run it will be good to see the scrutiny put upon him to expose him for what he actually is and that is like the crap that accumulates around the toilet bowl when it has not been cleaned for several weeks..yeah thats him.

  4. Can't wait. 3 New Yorkers running for president, 2 of them Jews. Welcome President Trump.

  5. B - bullshit
    L - Liar
    O - Out of Touch
    O - Out of Touch
    M - Moron Midget - take your pick
    B - Biggot
    E - Education Mayor (coughing loudly)
    R - Rarely right
    G - Goon