Over one hundred teacher union leaders met in Centereach yesterday to talk about developing a strategy for changing the broken high stakes testing system in New York. Middle Country Teachers Association President Nadia Resnikov and I talked to the group about the recently passed New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) resolution opposing the current testing system in our state. Our message was simple. The current testing system is broken. It must be changed. Resolutions, however, are just words. People have to organize to breathe life into them. As part of our program, we showed excerpts of the film Race to Nowhere, a moving documentary that argues the thesis that our approach to education is robbing our students of their childhood.
Following our presentation, we broke down into county-wide groups to brainstorm things that local unions can do build the coalitions of teachers administrators, parents and grandparents to end the destructive impact New York’s testing is having on the education of its children. It was clear from the tables I visited that our local leaders got the message and were thinking creatively about what they were going to begin to do in their home districts. That we could get a hundred teacher union leaders to a meeting at the end of the school year says volumes about what testing is doing to the work teachers do, I’m heartened to believe that we have taken a first significant step in the political process of kicking the testocracy in the ass.