I have as much respect and enthusiasm as a human being could possibly have for the opt-out from standardized testing movement that has spread throughout the state. However, if the movement is to truly succeed, it would be quite helpful if the New York City union, the United Federation of Teachers, would get behind opt-out. The UFT is the largest teacher local in the country as well as the state.
Opt-out supporters will not have an easy time meeting a goal I saw online of doubling this past spring's total of 220,000 students who refused to take exams. UFT support would certainly be welcomed. Opt-out is weaker in so called progressive NYC compared to much of the rest of the state.
New York City has now become in many ways the standard bearer for almost a kind of status-quo unionism. The UFT leadership is enabling the people who are trying to destroy us by still trying to play the appeasement game. Our leadership continues to call only for modifications of the test and punish policies that are killing public education.
State testing policy needs a complete ovehaul. Student exam results should not count for any part of a teacher's rating and should only be used for diagnostic purposes for students. Strong opt-out numbers give parents, students and teachers leverage in the battle to save the public schools as we know them.
The UFT membership needs to pressure the leadership to change their thinking. If the UFT was on board, I believe opt-out would have a much better chance of success.