THE BLOG

Is NYSUT/AFT Support for NY Opt Out Just the 2013 AFT "Moratorium" Warmed Over?

04/01/2015 07:57 am ET | Updated May 31, 2015

2015-04-01-1427864537-6587068-Nyskyline.jpg

I have read New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) president Karen Magee's words regarding opting out of the Pearson tests that New York students currently take in lieu of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests. New York is still listed as a PARCC state; however; it has contracted for other Pearson tests than the ones bearing the 2015 Pearson-PARCC label.

What strikes me is Magee's care in choosing temporal language regarding opting out: Her position on urging parents to opt out is "for now." As the March 30, 2015, Buffalo News notes:

"I would opt out at this point," New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee said in an Albany radio interview Monday. "And I think we're going to see an increased reliance and many more parents engaging in that opt-out movement." ...

"So, are you saying, Karen Magee, that you would urge parents to opt out of testing?" WCNY's Capitol Pressroom host Susan Arbetter asked in a follow up question during the lengthy interview on education initiatives in the state budget.

"I am saying that I would urge parents at this point in time to opt out of testing," Magee confirmed. [Emphasis added.]

Magee is still a dedicated supporter of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the conduit for this unprecedented amount of testing in grades 3 through 8 in the first place. In the March 30, 2015, Times-Union, Magee notes that she is "concerned about the botched roll out of the Common Core."

So, if the Common Core had already met Magee's determination of adequate "roll out," and given that unprecedented hours of testing were meant to be part of the Common Core package before there even was a "Common Core", then what is Magee really advocating?

Delayed unprecedented hours of Common Core testing, similar to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) moratorium of April 2013?

AFT president Randi Weingarten is also careful to include language limiting her commitment to "this year" for opting out of New York's Pearson tests:

Randi Weingarten @rweingarten · Mar 30
.@lacetothetop et al have asked what I'd do if I had kids in NYPS--based on what I've seen, if I had kids, I'd opt them out of PARCC this yr

And again with the temporary commitment to opting out "this year":

Randi Weingarten @rweingarten · 22h22 hours ago
To clarify: Several pple asked what I'd do if I had schl age kids-based on what I've seen this year, I wld opt them out of NY Pearson tests

So, the question remains: Is this "amazing news" of the NYSUT/AFT support for New York's opt out anything more that repackaged "moratorium" to "give Common Core a chance" before bringing in the hours of unprecedented ueber-testing that was wed to Common Core before there even was a Common Core?

And the question behind the question:

What will it take for NYSUT and AFT to break up with intended testing conduit, Common Core?

Originally posted 03-31-15 at deutsch29.wordpress.com

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who's Who In the Implosion of American Public Education. She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication May/June 2015.