Local teachers coming out against common core

Created: 04/21/2014 11:38 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Local teachers are upset over high-stakes testing.

Teachers in a local school district got a response, after sending a message to state education leaders.

If you have a child in third through eighth grade, they may be talking about next week's state math tests, based on the tougher common core curriculum.

Parents, teachers and others have taken issue, with the implementation of these standards. 

Last week we told you about teachers in Spencerport that sent a letter to the State Education Department, demanding change over the state tests.

News10NBC learned another district is considering a similar move.

That letter contained some very strong language that referred to the high stakes testing as "flawed, useless, and poorly written." asking them to be eliminated. Monday night, we got a chance to talk with two teachers who signed the petition to find out why they sent the letter and what they hope to gain.

Emmy Thevenesan and Claudio Montecalvo are seventh grade English teachers in Spencerport. They are among the more than 60 teachers who last week sent a petition and letter to the State Department of Education calling for a review of the high stakes testing. 

“It started as conversation, which led to an email, which led actually to a social studies teacher saying why don't we put this together and ask teachers to sign,” said Thevenesan.

While common core has come under fire, these teachers say the high stakes testing is the biggest issue.

When you can't look at them, you can't talk about them, you can't discuss them with your students it raises the question why are we doing this?” said Thevenesan

Schools will be ranked based on their test scores, and they will be used to evaluate teachers.

“If that’s what you want, to judge us, than make that known. I won't like it but I can accept it. It’s not going to do anything for my students. Because they won’t improve, because I can't tell my students what they did wrong,” said Montecalvo.

The letter is having an impact. It has been sent to teachers in other districts. There is now a website encouraging teachers to write letters.  In fact Adam Urbanski, President of the Rochester Teachers Association, sent a copy to every teacher in the Rochester City School District, encouraging them to join the fight.

“They are very much connected teaching and learning. This is on the behalf of students and for teachers,” said Urbanski.

Rochester has filed a lawsuit against the state over the high stakes testing. The teachers say they are not completely against common core, but they want to begin a statewide conversation about the testing.

The state did respond to the teachers saying the state cannot legally eliminate the testing, and that the tests are the best way to see how students are doing compared to other students in other districts and across the state.

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