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Monday, September 1, 2014
Teacher union ad campaign targets tests

The largest teachers union in the state has rolled out a $250,000 advertising campaign opposing the new and tougher standardized test tied to the Common Core Standards, urging parents to join with them in fighting the 10-test testing program.

The New York State United Teachers, which represents more than 600,000 current and retired teachers says in its full-page ads, which appeared on Friday in many daily newspapers, including the New York Times and Newsday, that the testing program should be used to gauge New York’s progress in rolling out rigorous new national learning standards, but not as a measure of teacher effectiveness or against students.

“No experienced teacher would test students on material before it’s been taught,” the advertisement said. “Yet that’s just the scenario the state has created in its rush to roll out new standardized tests. Two-thirds of the teachers surveyed statewide say their students lack books and materials aligned with the new Common Core Standards. As recently as last month, the state was still rolling out the materials and instructions on Common Core, while expecting the students to have mastered the curriculum by April.”

With scores expected to plummet, New York State United Teachers wants parents to tell the state not to use them in teacher evaluations this year or to hold back students.

The state uses the annual English language arts and math tests for grades third through eighth to assess students, schools and districts. This year, the tests are also to figure in to state-required performance evaluations that will rate teachers and principals as either highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective.

The new curriculum, meant to better prepare students for college and jobs, includes more complex reading problems that require students to analyze informational texts and write evidence-based responses. The math challenges students not only to solve real-world problems but to first decide which formulas and tools to use.

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