Powerful NY teachers union renounces support for Common Core

Robby Soave Reporter
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Another key backer of Common Core has reversed its earlier support for the national education standards: the New York State United Teachers.

The mighty teachers union has over 600,000 members, and without its support, education officials in the Empire State may not be able to continue implementing the controversial curriculum guidelines.

NYSUT’s Board of Directors approved a resolution saying that New York teachers no longer agree with the standards “as implemented,” by State Education Commissioner John King. They also expressed a vote of no confidence in King’s leadership.

“[King] has pursued policies that repeatedly ignore the voices of parents and educators who have identified problems and called on him to move more thoughtfully,” said Union President Richard Iannuzzi in the resolution, according to The Washington Post.

The union wants Common Core implementation suspended for three years, and is most insistent that the new standardized testing–which could be used to evaluate teachers for merit pay–be cancelled. (RELATED: Can you solve this grammatically incorrect, impossible Common Core question?)

NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. AFT President Randi Weingarten has become increasingly outspoken about her concerns with Common Core implementation, and says she agrees with the latest resolution.

Common Core is equally controversial among grassroots conservatives, who see the standards as a vehicle for introducing federal mandates into the management of local schools. The standards have made for strange bedfellows, with angry teachers and parents representing the right, left and center turning out to dozens of King’s townhall meetings all over New York state. The meetings became so heated that King eventually cancelled them, although he later resumed them amid criticism. (RELATED: Education bigwig will now have invite-only Common Core forum, exclude hoi polloi)

A similar story is playing out in many other states across the country, where conservative activists, teachers unions and some Republican and Democratic legislators are working together to delay the implementation of Common Core. On the other side, many moderate Republican governors–as well as President Obama’s Department of Education–continue to praise the standards.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently selected an arch-progressive, Carmen Farina, to serve as chancellor of city schools. Given the cross-ideological opposition to Common Core, it’s unclear exactly what Farina wants to do about the standards, though she has expressed support for the curriculum component while predictably criticizing the tests. (RELATED: It begins: New NYC schools chancellor will push ‘progressive agenda’)

In any case, it will be difficult for New York education officials to proceed with implementation, given such vigorous opposition from the teachers themselves.

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