New York teachers, speaking at a Feb. 27 union event in Colonie, voiced their concerns that students will not be prepared for the tests based on the Common Core Standards that are scheduled for this spring. Teachers have not had time to fully study and implement the new standards in their classrooms. The new 3-8 grade assessments for English Language Arts (ELA) are scheduled for April 16 – 18, and new 3-8 Mathematics assessments will be administered April 24 – 26.
In a survey conducted by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) last month, only one-third of teachers said their students had access to textbooks aligned with the newly adopted Common Core Standards. Less than a third of teachers said their districts gave them time to study and plan for the new standards.
In addition to frustrating students with exams for which they are unprepared, a teacher’s professional record will be affected by exam results. The new teacher evaluation system uses students’ standardized test scores as one factor in calculating a teacher’s effectiveness rating. NYSUT Board of Directors member Stacy Caruso-Sharpe, commenting on the speed at which the state is implementing the new assessments, said, “There’s a real fear that we’re being set up.”
NYSUT has launched a “Tell it Like it is” letter writing campaign that urges members to write Education Commissioner John King and the Board of Regents asking for more flexibility, alternative assessments and relief from what they deem as excessive emphasis on standardized tests. Members are sending 100 letters a day, Monday through Friday, according to NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira.