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Politics and Government

Teachers union says growing test boycott will impact teacher evaluations

Karen Dewitt
Math teacher Maria DeAngelo (right) delivers student essays and art work to an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. DeAngelo walked 150 miles to protest the governor's education policies.

The head of the state’s largest teachers union predicts that the legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to revisit new teacher evaluation laws passed as part of the state budget, now that almost one fifth of students have opted out of the tests.

New York State United Teacher’s President Karen Magee says the boycott of the third through eighth grade English tests by nearly 20 percent of New York’s students will undermine the new teacher evaluation system that relies more heavily on the controversial standardized tests.  

“Something has to be done,” Magee said. “Absolutely.”

Standardized math tests will be given later this week, and it’s expected that as many or even more students will also boycott those exams. The new teacher evaluation system is also tied to funding increases for schools, and those funds could now be jeopardized.

Magee spoke as a math teacher from Saranac Lake walked 150 miles from the Adirondacks to the state Capitol asking for fairer distribution of school aid and fewer standardized tests.

Maria DeAngelo , who walked the last several miles in a driving rain storm, delivered a portfolio of student essays and art work to Cuomo. The governor is visiting Cuba. DeAngelo, who is also a long-distance speed walker,  says she’s seeking a more “respectful dialogue.” Cuomo has called teachers and their union part of “monopoly” that he says must be broken.

“Now, if the governor could please step into the conversation in a respectful way, that would be wonderful,” said DeAngelo.

An aide to Cuomo accepted the student artwork.