MORE Presidential Candidate in the NY Times; More on Seattle

Michael Powell with a great read in the New York Times about Mayor Bloomberg’s fight with the UFT.  Julie Cavanagh, a teacher in Red Hook, Brooklyn, who is running for UFT President this year as the MORE caucus’ candidate, was quoted several times in the story, including this gem…

“The ‘bad teacher’ narrative as a way of explaining what’s wrong with our school system gets really old,” Ms. Cavanagh said. “Our union has taken a stance that we will collaborate and compromise and that is shortsighted when the other side seems bent on destroying you.”

Julie Cavanagh during her appearance on MSNBC this fall.

More news from Seattle where Garfield High School teachers have decided to boycott standardized tests that they were to be evaluated on…

  • Superintendent Jose Banda has issued a warning to teachers who fail to administer the tests, threatening them with a ten day suspension.  The insistence of the teachers to go through with the boycott in spite of such threats makes their actions even more heroic.
  • NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, president of those Seattle teachers’ parent union, has finally broken his silence on the matter with this statement of support…
“Today is a defining moment within the education profession as educators at Seattle’s Garfield High School take a heroic stand against using the MAP test as a basis for measuring academic performance and teacher effectiveness. I, along with 3 million educators across the country, proudly support their efforts in saying ‘no’ to giving their students a flawed test that takes away from learning and is not aligned with the curriculum. Garfield High School educators are receiving support from the parents of Garfield students. They have joined an ever-growing chorus committed to one of our nation’s most critical responsibilities—educating students in a manner that best serves the realization of their fullest potential.
“Educators across the country know what’s best for their students, and it’s no different for our members in Seattle. We know that having well-designed assessment tools can help students evaluate their own strengths and needs, and help teachers improve. This type of assessment isn’t done in one day or three times a year. It’s done daily, and educators need the flexibility to collaborate with their colleagues and the time to evaluate on-going data to make informed decisions about what’s best for students.
“If we want a system that is designed to help all students, we must allow educators, parents, students and communities to be a part of the process and have a stronger voice in this conversation as they demand high-quality assessments that support student learning. Off-the-shelf assessments that are not aligned with the curriculum or goals of the school are not the answer.”

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