"Over-testing" criticized by local teachers

Posted at: 04/11/2013 6:01 PM
Updated at: 04/11/2013 6:28 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

EAST GREENBUSH -  "In New York, we're approaching test time. Every student in 3-8 grade is about to take a test in ELA and Math."

In a video released Thursday, the State Education Department defended the new Common Core standards. Expecting students to score lower in exams over the next two weeks.

But local teachers gathering for an Education Summit, say kids are being over-tested, creating anxiety and challenges.

"The focus is totally off the teaching and it's, what are we doing wrong," said Dana Parker, a teacher in the Lansingburgh School District.

"It's very disheartening when you don't feel you have a voice but you are dealing with the anxiety of kids, or crying kids or trying to explain or justify what, why we're doing what we're doing," said Colleen McDonald, an English teacher at Cambridge Central Schools.

The meeting, organized by Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, was designed to give teachers a voice on the Common Core as well as tests developed for new teacher evaluations.

"Seems like we're kind of taking the joy out of education. Taking the joy out of the teacher's job. Taking the joy out of the kids going to school and trying to thrive and learn," McLaughlin said. He represents the 107th Assembly District.

"It's difficult to watch this happen. So some people think I can't watch it. So they leave," added Eric Olson, a high school science teacher in the Brittonkill School District.

Education Commissioner John King urged teachers and parents to get behind the more stringent tests, saying they're necessary for student success.

"It will give us a much clearer picture of where students are and where we need to do to move them forward so they are college or career ready," the video stated.

Assemblyman McLaughlin plans to give the video and report on the Summit to legislators and state leaders, hoping they'll support less emphasis on test scores as a measure of student success.