Press releases

UFT response to the signing of ESSA and Cuomo's Common Core task force findings

Following President Obama's signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the release of Governor Cuomo's Common Core task force findings on Dec. 10, UFT President Michael Mulgrew sent the following email to all DOE-employed members.

Today is an historic day for public education in New York State.

This morning I was able to stand at the White House with other education and political leaders as President Obama signed legislation that bars the federal government from mandating the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers and the use of the Common Core standards.

Later this afternoon, Governor Cuomo's Common Core Task Force issued its report. In essence, the task force report urges a fundamental reset of education policy in New York State, including a four-year ban on the use of state growth scores to evaluate both teachers and students.

The task force urges the state — working with educators — to develop its own learning standards following a thorough review of the Common Core Learning Standards. As part of that overhaul, new age-appropriate standards would be designed for students in the early grades and appropriate accommodations would be made to meet the needs of students with disabilities and English language learners.

The task force recognizes the need for a comprehensive multi-year plan to create matching curriculum and tests and to properly train teachers. While this process goes forward, the task force recommends that the results from tests aligned to the current Common Core standards — as well as the updated standards — not be used as part of student and teacher evaluations before 2019.

In contrast to the state's failed implementation of the Common Core standards, the task force says now is the time to get it right. It calls for the new system to be developed and implemented gradually — and with educator input every step of the way.

The task force's recommendations now go to the state Board of Regents. We will now shift our focus to the Regents to ensure their passage.

Over the past 12 years, you and your students have seen the joy of learning slip away as our classrooms were turned into test-prep factories.

While we still have hard work ahead of us, we are poised to change the testing obsession that has done so much harm to our schools and our profession. I can’t thank you enough for your perseverance as we fought for this day.

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