Karen Magee, president of Néw York State United Teachers, has called for a mass opt out from state testing. Her protest is in response to Governor Cuomo’s hostile actions towards teachers and public schools.
Magee said (correctly) that test-based evaluation is an unreliable measure of teacher quality.
“New York State United Teachers president Karen Magee hinted on Monday that the powerful statewide union would launch a campaign to further encourage parents to have their children “opt out” of state-administered, Common Core-aligned exams in order to undermine the use of test scores as a component of teacher evaluations.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Magee said the union has posted information on its website instructing parents on how to have their children refuse the third through eighth grade English and math exams, which are required by the federal government and will be administered next month.
“I’m a parent,” said Magee, who lives in Westchester. “My child is in 11th grade at this point in time. Had he been a third to eighth grader, he would not be taking the test. The tests are not valid indicators. The American Statistical Association has said there is no direct link to tie these tests to student performance or teacher evaluation. Let’s look at tests that are diagnostic in nature, that actually inform practice in the classroom, that actually work to serve students who are directly sitting in front of the teacher for the year as opposed to what we have in place right now.
“At this point in time, yes, we are encouraging parents to opt out,” she said. “We will be taking further steps to make parents aware of this…..”
“Magee admitted that some level of opt outs could hurt teachers in this way, but said, “Statistically, if you take out enough, it has no merit or value whatsoever.”
“When asked whether it was her goal to impact the validity of the exams, the union president responded: “At this point in time it’s the best way to go.”
Cuomo sought the most punitive possible evaluation approach to teachers. Despite the evidence against tying teacher evaluation to test scores, Cuomo demanded that 50% of each teacher’s evaluation be based on test scores.
He never explained his plan to evaluate the 70% of teachers who do not teach tested subjects.
He also has insisted that the views of an independent evaluator count more than that of principals, but has not explained the cost of hiring thousands of evaluators or why the judgment of a drive-by evaluator should have greater weight than that of the principal.
His hostility towards teachers is palpable. Future leaders will have to repair the damage Cuomo has done through his blatant disrespect for teachers, all teachers. Who will want to teach?