White Plains Teachers Call on School Board to Support De-Emphasizing Standardized testing, Support Common Core, Safeguard Enriching Education Experience

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. December 12, 2013:

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The White Plains Teachers Association represented by Kerry Broderick,(above) presented the Board of Education with a resolution  they want the Board to adapt and send on to the state and federal government, calling for reduction of reliance on standardized tests as measures of education, teacher, and school effectiveness.

The White Plains Teachers resolution did not ask the Board to take the militant stance teachers unions and educators did Monday calling for a slowdown of the Common Core implementation, suspension of high stakes testing for three years, and call for adequate fair public funding of school districts and schools across the state.

Broderick addressing the Board in the public comment segment of the White Plains meeting remarked on the White Plains Teachers supporting the national rallies against the Common Core curriculum rollout and emphasis on standardized testing that took place Monday.

The American Federation of Teachers and New York State United Teachers held  protests in Nyack and Yonkers Monday, sharply criticizing the Common Core according to Gannet Reporters Gary Stern and Mareesa Nicosia. Those reporters  wrote the NYSUT have prepared bills to stop high stakes testing and for the state to move more slowly on the Common Core Curriculum phase-in.

The White Plains Teachers Association resolution is more moderate.

It does not call for a suspension of testing, but instead a reduction in the weight the tests  have in evaluating the progress of students’ and teachers’ effectiveness.

Broderick said White Plains Teachers wore blue “National Day of Action” Action shirts Monday to support the effort by educators for “fair funding of public education, a 3 year moratorium on assessment tests, and  a return to established best education practices.”

The actual resolution presented the Board does not go that far, while actually acknowledging the Common Core has some merit,  it reads:

CALLING UPON THE NEW YORK STATE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION AND THE NYS BOARD OF REGENTS TO STOP THE OVERRELIANCE ON STANDARDIZED TESTS AS A MEASURE OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE AND PRINCIPAL/TEACHER EFFECTIVENESS.

WHEREAS, every student deserves a quality public education dedicated to preparing engaged citizens, creative and critical thinkers, and lifelong learners ready for college and careers; and

WHEREAS, while the implementation of the Common Core will ultimately help students, teachers and teaching and learning, the growing reliance on and misalighment of standardized testing is eroding student learning time, and narrowing the curriculum and jeopardizing the rich, meaningful education our students need and deserve; and

WHEREAS, despite the fact that research recommends the use of multiple measures to gauge student performance and teacher effectiveness, the state’s growing reliance on standardized testing is adversely affecting students across all spectrums, the morale of our educators and further draining already scarce resources; and

WHEREAS, the federal, elementary and secondary education act’s testing policies fail to appropriately accommodate the unique needs of students with disabilities and English language learners in assessing their learning, resulting in test scores that do not accurately represent a true measure of the contributions of teachers and schools; and

WHEREAS, it is time for policymakers to recalibrate the number, duration and appropriate use of standardized tests so that we can refocus our efforts on student learning; now therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that we call upon the Commissioner of Education, the NYS Board of Regents and other policymakers to reduce the use of and over-reliance on standardized testing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we call on the U.S. Congress and Administration to reduce federal testing mandates and support the role of and focus on multiple measures of student learning and school quality in accountability systems.

The Clerk to the Board of Education, Michele Schoenfeld said the Board did not act on the Resolution because they had not been aware it was going to be presented. She said the resolution might be put on the agenda next month, but that the Board of Education had not to her knowledge discussed it since its presentation.

 

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