Heroic Teacher Jia Lee Once Again Refuses to Administer State Tests

Last year we directed you to the Teachers of Conscience position paper.  Teachers of Conscience, a group of New York City public schools teachers concerned about market-based reforms and the future of public education, was the group referenced by Beth Dimino in her letter to the Comsewogue School District indicating her decision not to administer state assessments this year.  The group includes Jia Lee.  Ms. Lee, of the MORE Caucus, was in Washington DC this week to testify in the U.S. Senate on NCLB.  Lee, who once again will be refusing to administer state tests this year, was articulate and brilliant in her heroic sppech.  Have a watch below.  It’s well worth the five minutes.

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Teacher Refusal Videos

In case you missed it on News 12, you can view the story about Beth Dimino refusing to administer the state tests here.

In related news, you can watch the video below of sixth-grade teacher Jennifer Rickert from upstate New York as she announces her decision not to administer state tests this year.

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Sheldon Silver Arrested

Sheldon Silver, who likely would have provided the only resistance to Cuomo’s agenda that will destroy public education, has been arrested today on federal corruption charges.

Silver, the long time speaker of the New York State Assembly, will likely be replaced with a Cuomo ally.  With the Republican controlled Senate backing Cuomo’s agenda, it is now reasonable to expect that the governor will get everything he demanded yesterday.

The last layer of defense for students, teachers, and citizens who value locally controlled schools is the opt-out movement.

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A Message From Beth Dimino

A message from PJSTA President Beth Dimino…

Governor Cuomo is wrong. He used junk science today to support his nonsensical theory that public education in NY is broken and that he alone has the “fix”. We can and will dissuade him of that opinion by each of us doing some or all of the following;

1) Refuse to allow your child to take the 3-8 tests.

2) Convince everyone you know to refuse to allow their child to take the tests. Last year, 60% of the students in Comsewogue did not take the tests and therefore the teachers could not be judged based on the student’s scores. No students take the test = No data to judge teachers. The opt out movement is the single best option to stop Cuomo’s testing agenda. Direct people to nysape.org for answers to their questions and a printable version of the IREFUSE letter.

3) Go to your local school board meetings and demand that your BOE pass resolutions against testing and in support of teachers and parents who refuse the tests.

4) Write letters, call, fax, and/or email your representatives and tell them some or all of the following;
Cuomo’s public school agenda is wrong, how public education is working in your district, that you will not support them if they do not support local control of your  district schools, that funding should not be tied to testing or a teacher evaluation system, that you are refusing to allow your child to take the tests because they serve no educational purpose, and that forcing children to sit through developmentally inappropriate tests for the sole purpose of evaluating teachers is hurtful to students and an ineffective way to judge effective pedagogy.

5) Get on Face book and Twitter daily for the purpose of staying up to date on current educational issues and to push a pro student, teacher and public education agenda. Go to thepjsta.org and read my emails daily for current PJSTA happenings.

I appreciate your support of me and my choice to refuse to administer the tests. I took this stand in defense of you and our students and yes I am fully cognizant of the personal risks that are attached to this choice.  Together, we can and will stop the Governor and the deformers!

In Solidarity,
Beth Dimino

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Cuomo Lays Out Plan to Destroy Public Education

We have seen this coming for a while, but that didn’t lessen the sting of Governor Cuomo’s plan for public education that he laid out in his 2015 State of the State and budget proposal today.

Via Capitol Confidential

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s combination State of the State and budget proposal includes tough reforms that would overhaul the teacher evaluation formula, require two more years on the job for a teacher to attain tenure, and make it easier to fire ineffective educators.

On evaluations, Cuomo wants to see the current formula — 20 percent based on state testing, 20 percent on a local standard, and 60 percent based on qualitative measures such as classroom observation — swapped out for a system that gives equal measure to state testing (or, in certain cases, some other standard that measures work over an academic year) and 50 percent based on at least two observations performed by an administrator, an independent evaluator or an appointed faculty member at a SUNY or CUNY school of education.

While teachers can now attain tenure after three years, Cuomo would push that to five years and require them to maintain ratings of “effective” or “highly effective.”

On teacher removal, Cuomo would reform the “3020-A” hearing process by creating a presumption in favor of administrators in cases of educational incompetence, and an expedited 60-day process for teachers accused of physical or sexual abuse of a child.

In another shot across the bow of state teachers unions, Cuomo wants to increase the current cap on charter schools by 100 schools (to 560), and dissolve the regional caps to make that number a statewide tally. New York City has only two dozen charter slots remaining under the current inventory.

To summarize the overall education proposal…

  • Cuomo wants the APPR revamped so that 50% of a teacher’s evaluation is based on standardized test scores.  The other 50% will be based on observations which could be conducted by an administrator, an “independent observer,” a SUNY or CUNY professor, or a “trained independent evaluator.”  Of course if the state test score shows you to be ineffective the observation doesn’t matter and you are judged to be “ineffective.”  Two consecutive such ratings results in your dismissal.
  • Cuomo wants to extend tenure for probationary teachers.  In order to receive tenure probationary teachers would now need to earn five consecutive “effective” or “highly effective” ratings.
  • The charter cap has been increased to allow 100 new charter schools to steal money from public schools.
  • The tax cap becomes permanent under Cuomo’s budget proposal as well.
  • Schools that are “failing schools” for three consecutive years would have their control turned over to “turnaround experts.”
  • The establishment of a backdoor voucher plan pushed by the Catholic Church described here by Reality-Based Educator.

Overall Cuomo called for an increase in state aid of $1.1 billion.  However, there is a catch.  If the legislature does not pass Cuomo’s reform agenda the budget will only include an increase of $377 million.  In other words Cuomo is bribing the state lawmakers to pass an agenda that is abusive to children and that seeks to eviscerate our profession.

Plenty more to come on this…

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