New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi today called on school districts to abandon educationally unsound and unconscionable policies that force students whose parents have decided to opt them out of state testing to “sit and stare” instead of providing them with a constructive alternative.
“NYSUT strongly condemns the policy of ‘sit and stare’,” Iannuzzi said. “This policy aimed at students whose parents elect to ‘opt out’ their children from state standardized testing is unconscionable. It would be spiteful and counter-productive for any school district to require an administrator or teacher to direct a child to ‘sit and stare’ at a blank desk while other students are taking exams because of a choice made by a parent.”
Iannuzzi added, “This is cruel to those students not taking the exam and a distraction and disservice to those who are attempting to complete it. Punishing or embarrassing children because their parents exercised their right to choose not to have their children participate in tests they consider inappropriate is, frankly, abusive.”
Iannuzzi said the union would provide guidance and support to parents – or parent groups – unfairly singled out or harassed for advocating the right to opt out and added, “We will vigorously defend any NYSUT members who are subject to any negative employment considerations for choosing to opt out their own child or who advocate, to the extent permitted by law, for others who opt out of state standardized tests.”
This is very strong language from Iannuzzi in support of students, teachers, and parents. It also continues his trend of taking more aggressive stands against damaging reforms from SED. Ironically some locals are opposing his re-election bid, and supporting the slate that wants to play nice with Cuomo, because Iannuzzi wasn’t previously aggressive enough.
Today’s comments seem to be further proof that an Iannuzzi no longer beholden to Michael Mulgrew is an Iannuzzi who will take NYSUT in the direction that most NYSUT members want.