ALBANY, N.Y. – Hundreds of teachers, parents and students gathered at the steps of the State Education Department Monday to protest standardized testing.
Busloads of people protested and shredded contracts between the state and the companies that make standardized tests. Protestors said it was not about Common Core because they’re used to standards. They said it was about how the standards are affecting students and teachers.
Karen Magee is the president of New York United Teachers. She said corporate companies that design the standardized tests are trying to cash in on students.
“The types of contracts that a company such as Pearson has made with State Ed to earn $33 million for the sake of compromising our students in our classrooms is just unacceptable,” she said.
Teachers said their students are being “over tested,” and the curriculum is backwards.
“The test itself was extremely reading intensive,” Tamarack High School teacher Tim Jacques said. “It was more reading comprehension test than anything else, and that’s a change from what we had been used to.”
Ira Share has been a teacher for 32 years. He said he’s never seen so much emphasis on assessments.
“Five-and-six-year-olds and the amount of tests that they are taking, it just does not make sense,” he said.
Teachers like Kathleen Ferguson agree. She said the State Education Department needs to refocus on the problem and allow teacher input on the tests.
“Right now, the problem is not teachers, and it’s not even standardized tests. It’s the system’s problem,” she said.
Marchers hoped their protest would be a step toward eliminating the negative environment toward teachers, and they argue decisions about the tests should come from within the classrooms and not corporate companies.
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