Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, is pushing for a moratorium on evaluating teachers and students based on Common Core tests until standards are fully implemented in schools. A group of state officials disagrees, stating that teachers shouldn’t delay accountability, according to Lyndsey Layton of The Washington Post.
Forty-five states have now adopted the Common Core standards, making this the first time states agree on what knowledge and skills sets students should have by the end of each year in K-12 education. The curriculum taught in order to meet these standards is largely left up to the individual states.
The American Federation of Teachers conducted a poll that found while most teachers are in support of Common Core Standards, they feel unprepared to teach it.
In a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, state education officials Chiefs for Change conveyed that states should move forward with assessing teacher and students using Common Core standards.
“Recently, some members of the national education community have advocated for pulling back on accountability in our schools,” the group wrote to Duncan. “. . . [We] reject any calls for a moratorium on accountability. . . . We will not relax or delay our urgency for creating better teacher, principal, school and district accountability systems as we implement more rigorous standards.”
Weingarten supports Common Core, but she fears that the effort may fall apart due to poor implementation.
Her decision came after New York parents and students went into a panic after new tests based on Common Core standards were administered. Complaints included that the test was poorly designed and covered material that had not yet been learned in class, bringing some students to tears. The amount of stress surrounding these test can run high since New York, like many other states, plan to use the results to decide if a student gets promoted to the next grade, how a teacher is evaluated and if a school should be closed.
Weingarten and Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, believe that a moratorium on consequences should be implemented for at least one year in order to let teachers and students adjust and become fully comfortable with Common Core. Currently New York and Kentucky are the only states that have begun testing using Common Core standards. The other 43 states will follow in 2014.