Teachers Union criticizes upcoming state exams

Posted at: 03/28/2013 5:45 PM
Updated at: 03/28/2013 6:12 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

LATHAM - The President of the New York State United Teachers said parents should expect their children to do worse on next month's standardized tests.

"There's going to be a test score and it's going to be an inaccurate rating of your child's ability," said Richard Iannuzzi, of NYSUT.

The Union launched a campaign with full page newspaper ads Thursday, saying that teachers haven't had the time or materials under the new Common Core standards to get third through eighth graders ready in time.

"Today the state of New York has only one module out of six that it ought to have up for teachers in elementary school grades. That's unacceptable if you're asking a child to be accountable for that material," Iannuzzi added.

New York is among the first states rolling out the new more rigorous curriculum based on building skills for college and careers. In Kentucky, children's scores fell by thirty-percent on the newly designed exams for English Language Arts and Math.

"State Ed and the Commissioner are saying expect lower scores, they're going to give us lee way to do that," said Dr. Brian Howard, Interim Superintendent for the Troy City School District.

Howard said lower scores would normally hold back some students or negatively effect the new teacher evaluations. But he hope that won't happen on this first round of tests.

"We have to talk about being fair here. You can't use different standards to measure something that's brand new so I think we will have to work through making those adjustments," Howard said.

In response to the NYSUT campaign, the State Education Department issued a statement Thursday afternoon from spokesperson Dennis Tompkins:

"In December 2010, the Board of Regents announced that the State would begin testing students on the rigorous Common Core standards beginning this year. We are now three years into a statewide effort to provide teachers with the professional development and other supports they need to make the transition to the Common Core. It's hard to understand how some can claim that they are being caught unprepared for the change. It's equally difficult to understand why anyone would suggest that the change is happening too quickly for teachers and students, when the exact opposite is true. If we want our children to be ready for college and meaningful careers, we need higher standards -- and a way to measure whether those standards are being met -- and we need them now."