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Letters: New curriculum's failing teachers

Classrooms across Long Island were empty on Thursday.

Classrooms across Long Island were empty on Thursday. Check our listings of delayed openings, closures and cancellations to see what's in store for Friday. Credit: Daniel Brennan

While Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has repeatedly pointed out that teacher ratings are not in complete harmony with student test scores, and while the governor would like us to believe that those same test scores are a reflection of teacher quality, Cuomo has forgotten one very significant item ["Ed fix clouded by fog of protest," Opinion, March 9].

The tests are not measuring the effectiveness of our teachers. They are measuring the effectiveness of the programs our teachers are being forced to use in class.

Our teachers are not failing, the programs being purchased for the classroom are failing our children. Book companies like Pearson Education also are producing the tests and are making a fortune from the taxpayers by convincing districts to buy their Common Core-aligned programs.

Chris Weiss, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer teaches middle school in New York City.

The exodus of parents opting out their children from the Common Core tests seems premature ["Rallying to refuse," News, March 9].

The standards, which were first launched in 2009, are meant to be intellectually rigorous and challenge our students. The goal is to improve students' critical and analytical reading skills by infusing the curricula with classic literary and historical texts. School districts design the curricula, and teachers have free range in creating their own methods for instruction. That's what the standards do and the tests measure.

What often frustrates parents and teachers alike stems from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's desire to tie the results of these tests to teacher evaluations. What this essentially means is that these tests, which students become understandably stressed about, are not used to measure what they know or to better assess teaching practices, but to grade teachers. That's it.

Instead of getting rid of the Common Core, we should push the governor to rethink what percentage of a teacher's evaluation is tied to state tests.

Sarah Wasser, Patchogue

Editor's note: The writer is a high school library media specialist.