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Teachers’ union withdraws support of Common Core

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The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Board of Directors voted to withdraw its support of the Common Core standards, the National Educators Association (NEA) reported on Jan. 27. NYSUT, which boasts more than 600,000 members among New York educators, is an affiliate of the NEA.

“Our members support the Common Core State Standards because they are the right thing to do for our students,” the NEA press statement said, “… but in order to fulfill the standards’ worthy goals, we need an equal commitment to common sense implementation.” NYSUT has been critical of the state’s failure to provide the time, training and resources needed for successful implementation of the new standards.

A major complaint from the union and educators across the state is the requirement that a portion of a teacher’s evaluation be based on students’ test scores. Teachers have not had the time or resources needed to prepare students for the new exams, the union claims.

New York students sat for the new exams last April, and the scores came in much lower than in past years with only 31 percent of students meeting proficiency standards.

In an open letter to the state’s education officials published Jan. 28 in the Washington Post, NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi and South Side High School principal Carol Burris wrote, “When scores were finally mailed to parents in September, many learned the state no longer considered their children proficient in English and math. Both kids and teachers received undeserved labels, telling them they did not make the grade. The outcry has only been getting louder since.”

At a Jan. 25 meeting in Albany, the NYSUT Board of Directors passed a resolution declaring “no confidence” in state Education Commissioner John King and called for his removal.