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Caruana, teachers want to hold off on evaluations

City school teachers joined council candidate Craig Caruana to protest using Common Core test scores for teacher evaluations. Photo by Bianca Fortis
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Student test scores fell this year citywide after the state implemented the new tougher guidelines of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and a group of teachers rallied in Middle Village Friday to ask that the new scores not affect their evaluations.

The goal of the new federal standards is to better prepare students for college and high-tech careers. New York is one of the first states to administer tests that use Common Core.

Craig Caruana, a Republican candidate for the seat held by Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), hosted the rally.

A part of teacher evaluations is based on how students score on the Common Core tests.

The teachers, who stood alongside Caruana in front of PS 128, at 69-10 65th Drive, said there should be a moratorium on using the student scores for the evaluations.

“This increases my stress level as a teacher tremendous­ly,” Roseann Randazzo, a third-grade teacher who lives in the district, said. “It also increases the stress levels of my students.”

Randazzo said teachers around the city are still missing the materials and resources they need to implement the new curriculum.

Those materials are still being delivered to schools. Randazzo said she recently received a shipment of books to her classroom at PS 196 in Brooklyn — after the school year began.

“How can I plan when I don’t know what’s being asked of me?” she said.

She also said she has not received training on the curriculum, unlike in past years when new programs were implemented.

In the meantime, Randazzo said, she is doing her best.

“We do what’s innate in us and teach the best way we know possible,” she said. “Many of us are experienced teachers, we know what our students need, and we try to implement that any way we can.”

Although the curriculum is a state standard, Caruana said he would fight on behalf of teachers if he is elected to City Hall.

Caruana will face off Nov. 5 against Crowley for the 30th District Council seat.

He stressed that he and the teachers are in favor of the new standards as well as the education theory behind them, but they do not support the way the standards are being implemented.

“I’m all for holding teachers accountable,” he said. “I think teacher evaluations are important. But what we’re saying is new standards got handed down this year, and at the same time, after the first few months of implementation, now you’re going to base an evaluation and rate students on something that’s brand new?”

When asked how long a moratorium should last, Caruana said at least a year. But ideally, teachers would be given time to feel comfortable with the material before they are evaluated based on test scores, he said.

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Posted 12:00 am, October 19, 2013
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