Education

Teachers Union Will No Longer Back Common Core

July 11, 2014
 

The American Federation of Teachers will open its annual convention Friday morning with a startling announcement: After years of strongly backing the Common Core, the union now plans to give its members grants to critique the academic standards — or to write replacement standards from scratch.

It’s a sign that teachers are frustrated and fed up — and they’re making their anger heard, loud and clear.

The AFT will also consider a resolution — drafted by its executive council — asserting that the promise of the Common Core has been corrupted by political manipulation, administrative bungling, corporate profiteering and an invalid scoring system designed to ensure huge numbers of kids fail the new math and language arts exams that will be rolled out next spring. An even more pointed resolution flat out opposing the standards will also likely come up for a vote.

Supporters of Common Core say they hope union leaders will seek to minimize anti-standards rhetoric. And they point out that union discontent with the Common Core has been simmering for some time. The AFT called more than a year ago for a moratorium on using Common Core test scores to determine whether students deserve to advance to the next grade — or teachers deserve to keep their jobs. And the New York state teachers union earlier this year withdrew its support for the standards as implemented.

Still, policy analysts see this weekend’s moves as an escalation — a stark signal that union opposition has switched into high gear, potentially threatening an initiative that both conservatives and liberals have supported for years and that has become one of President Barack Obama’s key education priorities.

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