Thursday, June 13, 2013

Buffalo Teachers (BTF) President Rumore: CCSS, Evaluations Driving Down Teacher Morale

Mike Desmond, WBFO public radio, June 3, 2013:
Union president says teacher morale at a low point
(WIVB-TV story on parents' anxiety over high-stakes tests in Buffalo area, including discussion of opt out activity in Western New York area.)
Morale among teachers in Buffalo is worse than usual, according to union president Phil Rumore, because of this spring's evaluations of students and teachers.

The head of the Buffalo Teachers Federation has long complained about constant testing of students and how test results are used in evaluation of teachers. Now, he says neither principals nor teachers have received all of the training they were supposed to receive on how to evaluate students.

Rumore says students are now being tested on material they haven't seen.

"Teachers are being asked to be evaluated on things they have no control over. Kids are being tested and re-tested. Now, you have the Common Core standards where there's only two states in the nation, New York and Tennessee, that are actually going to try and test kids on the Common Core standards before the curriculum has been put into place and the teachers have been trained," Rumore says.

State Education Commissioner John King recently told school board members from across the state he expects scores on tests students just completed to be 30 percent lower than last year's tests. That's the result of Common Core tests being used when students weren't prepared.

Rumore says there is also the issue of kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students being given "bubble tests." He says parents are starting to fight back.

"Some of the parents are starting to say 'I'm seeing my children come home with stomach aches. They don't like school anymore.' The parents are starting to beginning up and see what we see in schools that this testing is insane and it's ruining the joy of teaching and the joy of learning, and it's really sad," Rumore added.

Rumore says one teacher came to him crying recently regarding the stress both teachers and children are under, telling him "I can't take it anymore."