NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said the seven Regents’ proposed amendments to the State Education Department’s draft regulations make clear that they have been listening to parents and educators and are relying on a substantial body of research about teaching and learning.
“These Regents are honoring their constitutional responsibility to serve as policymakers and guardians of the educational needs of New York state students,” Magee said. “We salute them for holding forums and for listening to parents and educators about the need to end the state’s harmful obsession with standardized testing. We salute them for relying on research. We call upon the full Regents board to adopt these recommendations at next week’s meeting. This would prevent the rushed imposition of a harmful, unsupported system of tests and evaluations that has been rightly condemned by parents, educators, legislators and editorial boards across the state.”
NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino thanked the Regents for their courageous stand, saying: “They are honoring the trust vested in them by students, parents, educators and the public in calling for sound research-based policy that advances teaching and learning in New York state. Their proposal for a delay would allow local communities the time needed to make decisions in the best interest of students. We thank these seven Regents for bringing the voice of parents, educators and researchers into the conversation, and look forward to working with the full board to advance policies that strengthen educational opportunity for every student in our state.”
Proposed amendments include giving school districts until Sept. 1, 2016, to implement their evaluation systems; limiting the weight of state standardized tests to a maximum of 20 percent, consistent with the latest research; putting greater weight on local assessments and other locally developed measures of student growth, including portfolios and projects; and limiting the weight of outside observers. The proposed amendments would change the algorithm that determines student growth scores to better reflect the developmental stages for English language learners and students with special needs.
In concert with parents, NYSUT is at the forefront of advocacy to reclaim the joy of teaching and learning, building on a detailed white paper and recommendations by a Board of Directors task force to implement fair evaluations that strengthen teaching and learning, and end the state’s misguided over-reliance on standardized tests.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.