Buffalo Teachers Federation Council of Delegates Passes Resolution Opposing the Common Core State Standards Initiative

In recent weeks, actions opposing the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) have increased (also see this). This opposition accompanies a growing movement opposing high-stakes testing, including mass refusal. Opposition to the evaluation and compensation of educators based on student test scores (a policy pushed on states by Obama’s Race to the Top program) has been a driving force behind the upcoming forum on “rethinking reform” at the University at Buffalo.

More and more parents appear to be taking an interest in “school reform” and they do not like what they see. Recent actions against high-stakes testing by the Niagara Region PTA can be found here. Note as well that work is underway for the state PTA to adopt a resolution against high-stakes testing and New York State’s destructive evaluation system.

The union leadership of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have supported the CCSSI, even though it will increase further the use of high-stakes tests and impose the grading of student essays by computer.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF) resolution — and the growing resistance to so-called school reform in general — is a sign of the formation of public opinion against anti-public education initiatives, including the CCSSI.

Here is the resolution, as amended:

Background: On March 28, 2013 NYSUT placed a full-page ad in the Buffalo News with an open letter from Richard C. Iannuzzi, stating in part, “Let me be clear.  Teachers support the principle of Common Core standards.”  I was dumbfounded when I read that.  I asked myself just when did NYSUT sign on to the project?  When and where did the debate take place beforehand?  For NYSUT and the AFT the issue seems limited to implementation, overtesting, and problems related to “rolling out” the project.  “Let me be clear?”  Let us be clear that we do not support this project! — Resolution presented by Peter Brancato

RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO THE COMMON CORE “STATE” STANDARDS (CCSS)

WHEREAS: the CCSS are copyrighted property of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO); and

WHEREAS: neither the NGA Center nor the CCSSO is bound to any federal, state or local government; and

WHEREAS: neither the NGA Center nor the CCSSO reports to any legislature or other defined body; and

WHEREAS: the public now remains with no recourse to redress issues of content taught in public schools; and

WHEREAS: as Maria Neira stated at the NYSUT Representative Assembly 2013, “The inconvenient truth is this rush to testing…[is] about silencing our professional voice and the privatization of public education.”; and

WHEREAS: the CCSS emphasize informational text over narrative, denying students rich experiences with critical, reflective literature; and

WHEREAS: the purpose of public education should not be to convert human beings into consumable raw materials for the international labor market (“college and career ready”); and

WHEREAS: the CCSS initiative requires even more and longer tests that pressure educators to even further narrow curriculum and pedagogy;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: that the BTF implement or join existing publicity campaigns to inform parents and the public at large of the negative effects of the CCSS.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the BTF make clear our fundamental opposition to the CCSS.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the BTF urge NYSUT and the AFT to remove all language from public campaigns to counter overtesting and to promote “getting it right,” which claim that teachers support the principle of Common Core standards.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the BTF also urge NYSUT and the AFT to take public positions AGAINST the CCSS.

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