Opposing view

May 21, 2015

Today’s Daily News letters section contained the following rebuttal to Mulgrew’s piece:

Manhattan: It is astonishing that in a single sentence, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew can disparage New York’s Common Core-aligned state exams as a farce, and praise the National Assessment of Educational Progress as reliable (“The better tests N.Y. kids deserve,” Op-Ed, May 18). In reality, both tests tell the same dismal story about the proficiency of our schoolchildren. On the most recent NAEP exams, given in 2013, just 37% of New York State fourth-graders scored proficient in reading, 40% in math. Among eighth-graders, 35% tested as proficient in reading and 32% in math. In New York City, where Mulgrew’s union holds sway, the results were even worse. Can he truly believe those are acceptable numbers — even if city kids have, in his words, shown “modest but generally consistent gains”?

Eva Moskowitz, Success Academy Charter Schools

Further on the testing debate

May 19, 2015

I am not a big fan of Michael Mulgrew, the president of the New York City teachers’ union.  Although I think most teachers and, by extension, their union, want to do the best they can for their profession and for their students, the union often takes positions that are contrary to those goals, albeit in the interests of at least some of their members, and cynically couches it in terms of what’s good for “our kids.”  How perpetuating a hyper due-process tenure system that protects incompetent teachers or worse. and how negotiating a contract that cuts classroom instruction time are good for kids is beyond me.  Yet here is Mulgrew, in a piece in the New York Daily News,  making a lot of sense and taking a moderate, thoughtful stand on the testing issue.  Of course, what he doesn’t address is what happens when, under the evaluation system he proposes, a teacher still does not produce results.  But this column is a step in the right direction.