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The New York State United Teachers Board of Directors passed a resolution Saturday withdrawing its support for the Obama administration's major education reform agenda, the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
The NYSUT Board of Directors unanimously approved the resolution that also calls for the removal of the state's education commissioner, John King Jr.
Implementation of the Common Core has failed, NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi declared.
"Instead of listening to and trusting parents and teachers to know and do what's right for students, the commissioner has offered meaningless rhetoric and token change," he said. "Instead of making the major course corrections that are clearly needed, including backing a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences for students and teachers from state testing, he has labeled everyone and every meaningful recommendation as distractions."
The resolution will be voted on at the NYSUT's Representative Assembly on April 4-6, where 2,000 delegates will gather to represent the union's approximately 600,000 members.
While some Common Core supporters and some media coverage suggest that opponents are a small group of conservative Tea Party types, both opposition to and support for the program cuts across ideological boundaries.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan once famously profiled Common Core opponents as "white suburban moms" who were upset because testing showed that their child was not "as brilliant as they thought they were." He later apologized for the comment, saying his wording was "clumsy."
The New York teachers union action is yet another example that debunks the myth that all Common Core opponents are conservatives. Besides the fact that teachers unions have been strong supporters of the Democratic Party, the NYSUT is a member of the AFL-CIO, which has backed a range of liberal causes, including on education issues.
The National Education Association, the largest national teacher's union, is actively supporting the Common Core.
The NYST is asking the state to delay implementation of its next round of state assessments that are due to begin in a few months.
"It's time to hit the 'pause button' on high stakes while, at the same time, increasing support for students, parents and educators," NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said.
The NYSUT is also calling for better funding and "better engagement with parents, including listening to their concerns about their children's needs," Neira added.