Whether shorter or longer, Pearson or Questar, six days or four days, the ultimate damage is these tests will continue to mismeasure and mislabel children.
We have to look at the last five years of education policy in New York as a deeply flawed experiment. These tests have corrupted all other discussions in New York State including the mismeasurement of children, the bastardization of teacher evaluation, the misallocation of resources, and the overall inaccurate narrative of failing New York’s schools. For too long we have presented NYSED with information informing them of how the metrics underlying these tests are deeply flawed and do not align with the actual data indicating student success at the local level, from success on regents exams to actual student success college.
For too long our members from pre-K through eighth grade have had their voice, experience, and professional judgement silenced as teachers are forced to keep pace with an often developmentally inappropriate curriculum because of what they know is coming on the state test. We must make this year, the last year that NYSED tries to assess our students and teachers using fundamentally flawed formulas. Our hope is to return professional autonomy and voice to the state’s teachers. We must return to teachers the power to let the experience of our students drive their instruction instead of tests with no credibility but demand submission.
Teachers, parents and NYSUT leadership have tried every available means to influence the State Education Department to improve these tests. All attempts have been unsuccessful; the only action that has brought about minor alterations is when the parents of 20% of the state’s children refused to let their children take these tests. What we want--what our students need--is to take a more definitive position on this issue. We believe that this is the year for change and it will only occur through our collective action: we are asking all NYSUT members with testing age children to refuse the tests for their testing age children, and share this message with others. Were there another way to have SED understand, we would be asking NYSUT members for something different. The fact is the only pressure that has made any impact on New York’s assessments is the opt out movement, and this is the year for this movement to demand it be heard.
The ST Caucus Executive Committee