Medina teachers dress in blue to send a message: “Students aren’t test scores”

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Provided photos – The high school staff is pictured sitting on bleachers during Monday’s “Day of Action.”

MEDINA – Faculty at Medina Central School dressed in blue on Monday, joining many teachers across the state and country in a “Day of Action,” where they sought more funding for schools and less testing for students.

Medina teachers support testing of students, but say the “Common Core” has put “undo anxiety” on children and their families, according to the Medina Teachers Association.

As part of the Day of Action, Medina teachers adopted the following pledge:

“I shall continue to create a positive learning environment and educational experience for all students and pledge to respect each of my students as a unique person, and not a test score.”

Teachers at Clifford Wise Middle/Intermediate School are pictured inside the school library.

Joe Byrne, president of the Medina Teachers Association, said classrooms are not factories.

“The reality is that state assessments have stressed students, parents, and teachers alike and have done little to improve student education,” he said. “Testing cannot measure the influence of good teaching, which often takes years to reach fruition in the lives of students. Assessing teachers on the test scores of their students stifles creativity in the classroom and deprives children a love of learning.”

The state has implemented a teacher evaluation system, the Annual Professional Performance Review. The APPR is intended to hold teachers accountable for yearly academic progress of their students by including standardized test scores as part of their evaluation.

But the MTA says the value of a good teacher cannot be measured by standardized test scores. The teachers union says taxpayer dollars would be far better spent on programming that empowers students to become healthy, educated and productive citizens.

“It’s sad to think that these test scores are defining our students,” said elementary teacher Kris Colonna. “Each child should be recognized as special and unique. These tests do not reflect the growth of the whole child.”

Teachers held rallies throughout the state on Monday, including in Albany, Binghamton, Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, Yonkers and West Seneca.

The staff at Oak Orchard Elementary School join for a picture on Monday.