Baltimore Teachers Union supports call to halt Common Core consequences

The Baltimore Teacher's Union has called for the district hold off on attaching penalties to schools' performance on the the new  Common Core assessments, citing insufficient professional development and resources to implement the new high-stakes curriculum.

In a news release, BTU's President Marietta English echoed the call of one of the nation's largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, which called for a moratorium on penalties associated with the standardized testing that will measure a radically new curricula being rolled out across the nation, including Maryland, next year.

Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT--the parent organization of the BTU--called for states to hold off on any enforcing any high-stakes results that are attached to the standards. You can read her speech here.

Under No Child Left Behind, more than half of the nation's schools were being labeled failures--requiring a of corrective actions--and several states have moved to attach test scores to teacher evaluations.


English said in a statement, "Our national president is right to call for a moratorium on penalties associated with tests and evaluations, of Common Core."

In Maryland, new standardized tests, called Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), are being developed by states to evaluate students' performance under the new standards. They are expected to begin in the 2014-2015 school year.

The new standards are designed to raise the level of rigor in English, Language Arts, Math and Science drastically for students, beginning as early as pre-kindergarten. Last month, The Sun profiled efforts by Baltimore City school system to prepare its youngest learners for the new curricula they'll face when they head to kindergarten.

But, English said that Baltimore teachers have only had seven days of professional development in preparation for the standards, and will have 10 by the end of the school year.

She also said that the district has been operating under an "instructional framework," that standardizes subjects beyond those covered by the Common Core standards, and that the curriculum hasn't been developed yet.

"Because Common Core Standards have yet to be fully implemented, English said, it is premature to judge their effectiveness by evaluating students on a standardized
test," English said in a statement. "Worse, penalizing those schools that fail to pass those evaluations is unfair."