Federal and State News

ESSA
As expected, the Every Student Succeeds Act passed the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama. If you want a recap of what the law is about, please see this prior post on the SWRTA website. Also, here’s Education Week’s take on how everyone is claiming victory.

New York State Testing
The Common Core Task force has finished their work, and is said to be releasing their recommendations soon, possibly as early as tomorrow. According to Capital New York, their report will include, among  other things, a recommendation for a four-year moratorium on the use of test scores in teacher evaluations.  Let’s hold off on celebrating just yet, though.

For one thing, their recommendations are just that. Any changes would have to be made by the legislature and approved by the Governor. Secondly, even if it comes to pass, a four-year delay could just mean more time for them to “get it right,” which really means figure out a way to make their junk science more palatable to parents and impervious to lawsuits. Finally, even if we are successful in severing the connection between test scores and evaluations, we are still stuck with these wasteful and harmful tests themselves, and we will need to continue to fight them. This is why SWRTA has written a resolution which we hope to have voted on at the next NYSUT RA, which reaffirms our commitment to redesigning the federally mandated tests in ways that will benefit rather than harm students. We’ll be telling you more about that soon.

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