This morning I went to hear Randi Weingarten speak to a major group of business and civic leaders in New York City. Present also were the state’s education leaders, including Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch as well as College Board President (and Common Core architect) David Coleman.

Randi praised the Common Core as the most important innovation in education in our generation, but warned that it would fail unless there is time and support for proper implementation: professional development, curriculum, materials, collaboration, field testing, etc.

New York State and City plunged right into testing without adequate preparation. Randi predicted that Common Core was doomed unless there was enough time to do it right. She urged the importance of a field test. She suggested to the business leaders that none of them would roll out a new product without field testing.

The leaders with the power to make Randi’s proposal into reality were in the room. Let’s see what they do now.

Here is her announcement:

Dear Supporter,

This morning I addressed a group called the Association for a Better New York and spoke about the Common Core State Standards for math and English language arts that have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. I predicted these standards will result in one of two outcomes: They will lead to a revolution in teaching and learning, or end up in the dustbin of abandoned reforms. Educators want these standards to succeed—we know; we’ve asked them. But, in order for that to happen, we must have a chance to implement them before someone starts assessing how they’re working.

So today I called for a moratorium on the consequences of high-stakes testing associated with the Common Core standards until states and districts have worked with educators to properly implement them. Stand with me.

We are committed to the success of getting the transition to Common Core right. To do that, we must help teachers and students master this new approach and not waste time punishing people for not doing something they haven’t yet been equipped to do. Can you imagine doctors being expected to perform a new medical procedure without being trained or provided the necessary instruments? That’s what is happening right now with the Common Core.

We have the ability to transform the very DNA of teaching and learning, to move away from rote memorization and endless test taking, and toward problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork—things I know we have been advocating for years. It’s kind of amazing that we have to call on states and districts to implement the Common Core State Standards before making the new assessments count. But that’s what we’re doing.

Send a message to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan:

When states and districts get the alignment right—which will require moving from standards to curriculum to field testing to revising—success will follow. But, until then, a moratorium on the stakes is the only sensible course.

Making changes without anything close to adequate preparation is a failure of leadership, a sign of a broken accountability system and, worse, an abdication of our moral responsibility to the kids we serve. The Common Core standards have the potential to be a once-in-a-generation revolution in education, but there must be a tangible commitment from leadership that says very clearly, “We support you, and the Common Core, and these are the concrete steps we are going to take to help you and them succeed.”

Stand with me, because if we are able to put our foot on the accelerator of high-quality implementation, and put the brakes on the stakes, we can take advantage of this opportunity and guarantee that stronger standards lead to higher achievement for all children.

Help me send that message.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten

AFT President