New York state teachers frustrated with Common Core began “occupying” the steps of the state Education Department in Albany Monday night, the Albany Times Union reported.
The teachers took on a populist theme similar to what the Occupy movement took up in 2011 when it camped along Wall Street and later other parts of the United States to protest what demonstrators viewed as too much corporate power and income inequality.
Teachers are playing up the corporate ties behind the controversial Common Core K-12 standards for math and English. British company Pearson PLC has a $33 million contract with the state to administer the assessment tests in public schools; the company is also running teacher training tests.
“Public education, not private profits,” the crowd chanted, led by New York State United Teachers union president Karen E. Magee, according to the Times-Union.
Magee said that teachers understand the needs of their students more than a testing company, and held up a copy of a contract with the state and Pearson and ripped it up as the crowd chanted, “shred it, shred it.”
Common Core was developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and has the backing of the Obama administration’s Education Department which promotes college and career ready standards for its “Race to the Top” grants. However, many of the 44 states that adopted the standards are either debating their implementation or outright repeal. Four states have already repealed the standards.
The standardized tests are supposed to align with Common Core, which teachers and parents have raised objections to. Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, agreed not to hold teachers accountable for test results. The state also delayed applying the new standards to high school graduation requirements.
Though much of the debate in New York has been calling for changes to how Common Core is implemented, a new “Stop Common Core” ballot line was established and Cuomo’s Republican opponent Rob Astorino is the endorsed candidate.
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