Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NYSUT/AFT Uses Fear Tactics to Urge Rejection of Carol Burris Petition

The Burris petition’s call upon the Governor and Legislature to place a moratorium on high stakes testing would, if adopted without federal action, put New York’s public schools at risk of loss of federal Title funding, on which they so depend to support students. Indeed, there is the potential that action on this issue at the state level could result in the forfeiture of funds already paid out by the USDOE—a result that would be devastating to our schools and students.--- New York State United Teachers, a subsidiary of the UFT*
Well, here they go again. Apparently, the fact that top level principals like Carol Burris is a hero to many teachers for leading the fight against a faulty evaluation system while the UFT/NYSUT/AFT has sat on a spiky fence (or worse, played the other side), has once again irked the NYSUT leaders.

*In NYSUT the 200,000 member UFT is the tail that wags the dog. So when Unity Caucus clones come calling with a message that Mulgrew was not the guy who made the eval deal for a state law with Tischless and King, don't believe it.

I got into somewhat of a running battle the other day when a tweet came in asking me what it would take to get the teacher unions to take a strong stand against HST. I said they never would and she seemed confused as to why they wouldn't. I couldn't delve into the details at that time but ended up with responses from Weingarten and Leo Casey defending their record on HST, to a wonk like me, really funny stuff which I will post on a follow-up.

Meanwhile you should read a great post from RBE at Perdido Street School today listing some of the ways the union has supported HST:
Reading The Tea Leaves On Mulgrew's Evaluation Update

Here is the full NYSUT missive: 
Subject: from NYSUT sent to members.

It has come to our attention that a petition is being circulated by Carol Burris, a principal at a Long Island school district, which is entitled “Petition to Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to End High Stakes Testing”. The petition demands that the state place a moratorium on “high stakes” testing. We have been receiving some inquiries about NYSUT’s response and recommendations relating to this petition.

First, NYSUT’s Tell It Like It Is initiative is NYSUT's strongly recommended approach to communicating the concerns that we share about testing, because it allows for a more meaningful, personal, fact-based response than an e-petition. Any member considering signing the petition should be encouraged to instead participate in the Tell It initiative, which is already well underway, will continue up to the NYSUT RA, and is having a positive impact.

Second, action to reduce reliance on testing must come from the federal government, which has conditioned funding to the states on compliance with federal testing requirements. We must persuade the federal government to change its testing requirements. This is why AFT has initiated, and NYSUT strongly supports, a petition drive directed to federal policy makers. We encourage our members to sign the AFT petition, which is directed to the right audience. The Burris petition’s call upon the Governor and Legislature to place a moratorium on high stakes testing would, if adopted without federal action, put New York’s public schools at risk of loss of federal Title funding, on which they so depend to support students. Indeed, there is the potential that action on this issue at the state level could result in the forfeiture of funds already paid out by the USDOE—a result that would be devastating to our schools and students.

NYSUT believes that the dual initiatives of expressing to NYSED the real and serious concerns that our members have about the current testing program through NYSUT’s Tell It Like It Is, and of advocating for changes in the federal testing policy through AFT’s petition, are the best and most responsible strategies to protect and support our students and our members.

As always, you are welcome to contact me with questions or concerns.
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The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.

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