All across the nation, teacher unions at the state and local level are joining parents, students and teachers in an unprecedented uprising against the massive unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core testing scheme.
Here in Connecticut, the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing craze began on March 27, 2015.
Yet six weeks have gone by and there is still no public sign of support for the opt out movement from Connecticut’s two teacher unions – the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and the American Federation of Teachers – Connecticut Chapter (AFT-Connecticut).
At this point, Connecticut’s teacher unions have forever lost the opportunity to help lead the charge. But even running to jump on the opt-out train would be an important and appreciated gesture of support for Connecticut’s public school students, parents and teachers.
What is so incredibly strange, even bizarre, about the utter lack of action by Connecticut’s teacher unions is that it is in such stark contrast to what other teacher unions are doing around the country.
In New Jersey, the headline on the New Jersey Education Association website demands that Republican Governor Chris Christie and his administration, “Stop attacking parents…” for opting out of the Common Core Tests.
And the pushback against New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is just as strong, as NYSUT, the union that represents more than 600,000 New York State teachers, school-related professionals and academic and professional faculty in higher education continues its full-fledged campaign to help educate and support parents who are opting out of that state’s Common Core Testing.
In New York, the union’s well-funded program has provided needed support for parents and students, which, in turn, has helped to boost the number of students opting out from around 40,000 last year to as many as a quarter of a million this year.
Numerous public high schools in New York State are reporting more than 50 percent of high school juniors have been opted out of the destructive Common Core test and many high schools are seeing opt-out rates exceeding 80 percent.
But here in Connecticut, Governor Malloy’s administration’s goes unchecked as it continues to lie and mislead parents about their right to opt their children out of the testing scam and some local school superintendents go unchallenged as they inappropriately tell highs school juniors that they cannot graduate unless they take the SBAC test – a policy that would be illegal if true.
In state after state, teacher unions have stepped up to leverage their political power and visibility on behalf of the opt-out effort.
This weekend, the Massachusetts Teachers Association joined the effort endorsing the fundamental right of parents to opt their children out of the Common Core testing.
The MTA’s resolution states;
That parents in Massachusetts deserve the choice to opt their public school students out of high-stakes standardized assessments.
That districts should be required to provide all parents with yearly written information explaining their right to opt students out of assessments.
That students who opt out should not be included in data used by state or federal entities in “grading” schools.
That no parent or student should be penalized because of a parental decision to opt out.
That no educator should be disciplined for discussing with students, parents or community members the options for opting students out of high-stakes tests.
Barbara Madeloni, who as a challenger became president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association last year wrote,
“Supporting the right to opt out is one of the strongest statements we can make as educators against standardized testing.”
“The MTA will vigorously defend any educator who is disciplined for supporting the right of parents and students to opt out. The more people step up and speak out, the clearer will be the message to our legislators that the people of Massachusetts want to put a stop to the madness of standardized testing.
Standardized testing is distorting the goals of public education and choking the creativity and joy that should be at the center of teaching and learning.”
Even now at this late date Connecticut’s teacher unions can and should step up and join the opt-out battle.
Just as Connecticut’s public school teachers need and deserve the support of the state’s students and parents…
Connecticut’s students, parents and teachers need and deserve the help and support of Connecticut’s teacher unions in this historic battle against the corporate education reform and testing industry and those like Governor Dannel Malloy who continue their anti-teacher, anti-student, anti-parent, anti-public education initiatives.