Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten on New York Common Core Legislation

For Release: 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Contact:

Marcus Mrowka
202-879-4447; 202-531-0689 (cell)
mmrowka@aft.org

WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Common Core legislation passed in New York.

"While we continue to believe in standards as a part of the educational strategy that prepares our students for life, citizenship, college and career, the implementation of the Common Core standards in New York state has been terrible, from the fixation on testing and the refusal to release the tests; to the lack of support, funding and professional latitude for New York's professionals in implementing these standards; to the lack of materials for students with disabilities and English language learners; to the lack of information for early childhood educators about whether the preK-2 standards are developmentally inappropriate; and Commissioner King's refusal to listen to parents, teachers and students when they pleaded for adjustments.

"This has led to deep distrust among those closest to our children—parents and teachers, not to mention the real anxiety felt by many of New York's children. The governor and Legislature responded to that frustration first in April by precluding the use of Common Core tests to evaluate kids during this transition and eliminating K-2 testing and inBloom. And now they are moving to ensure that teachers who are working to make these standards work in a way that meets the needs of their students are also not hurt by the effects of this testing.

"We're glad the governor and Legislature took this action, which we called for more than a year ago, which we repeated as part of the governor's education reform committee, and which thousands of New Yorkers have called for, including in a recent Siena Research Institute poll showing that 82 percent of New Yorkers believe the implementation was rushed.

"I also commend New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee, NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta and all those who worked to secure this.

"This moratorium on the stakes is absolutely essential to reduce the deep anxiety and growing distrust from teachers and parents who feel that New York is more fixated on reducing students to test scores and teachers to evaluation algorithms than on helping children develop a love of learning and preparing them for their futures."

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.