As Mulgrew's opponent in 2013 election she is quite a contrast to Mulgrew as she makes similar points Chicago teachers made at the AFT convention in that debate on the floor and in committee where Unity slugs used thug tactics.
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That is why I put time into building MORE in the belly of the UFT/Unity Caucus beast. Because nothing will change with the unions unless we make those changes here in NYC. And Ed Deform cannot be defeated until the teacher unions become more Chicago-like -- willing to spit in the face of the deformers and use their resources in organizing opposition. Having powerhouses like Julie Cavanagh committed to this goal makes the work
Four years ago, a group tied to testing and publishing companies, and bankrolled with Bill and Melinda Gates’ money, brought us the Common Core Learning Standards.
Cash-strapped states that wanted to win federal Race to the Top dollars had to adopt the standards, and more than 40 states, including New York, did so.
Last year, our students were assessed for the first time according to the new standards. State Education Department officials predicted a steep drop, and scores plummeted. This year, small gains were predicted, and that’s what happened, to the astonishment of no one.
Predictions are easy to make when you define what constitutes proficiency.
There will be an attempt from all factions to spin the results: The state will say the reform agenda is working, the city will argue the scores show the need for pre-K, and charter schools will claim they show their importance as high-quality alternatives.
Let’s get off the hamster wheel.
The truth is, these tests were designed to create a narrative of failure, and the trends are not so different from those we saw on the old tests: we are failing our children with special needs, our English language learners, our children who live in poverty, and a disproportionate number of black and Latino pupils.
It is no surprise that the results mirror the struggles and deep flaws in our society. Of course, the goal was never to actually fix our schools — there are no profits in doing that. There are no profits in providing small class sizes, experienced educators and services like counseling, tutoring and family support — proven reforms that would benefit all students.
Instead, the focus is on unproven standards and the tests that supposedly measure our student’s competency — written by the very people who profit from their use.
Julie Cavanagh is a special education teacher and chapter leader at Public School 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn .