Friday, April 12, 2019
As the Board of Regents met inside, NYSUT local union leaders and state lawmakers stood on the steps of the State Education Department on Monday to demand major changes to the state's grades 3-8 testing system.
"We're here today because the state education department has a lot of explaining to do," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango. She said last week's grades 3-8 ELA testing was nothing short of disaster - with widespread computer crashes and exams that continue to be too long and developmentally inappropriate.
"Stories from teachers, parents and students continue to flood into NYSUT and the Board of Regents," DiBrango said. "Students as young as 8 and 9 years old sitting for four to six hours in front of a test we know is flawed. Intimidation tactics and pressure (to discourage opt-outs and force students to take tests), even though parents have a right to refuse them."
"It's unbelievable that we're here - not to talk about more funding or programs, but to talk about a debacle in testing," said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. "It is ludicrous. It must end."
The NYSUT leaders were joined by a number of area teachers who described how damaging the testing experience has been for their students.
"When we turn writing a paragraph or solving a math equation into an anxiety-inducing situation, we're sending the wrong message to our students," said Juliet Benaquisto, president of the Schenectady Federation of Teachers. She said elementary students sat for 1.5 hours unable to log in and others were unable to submit their work.