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Comments on Lawmakers’ Action to Decouple Standardized Tests from Teacher Evaluations

“Today, Education Committee Co-Chair State Senator Gayle Slossberg identified the challenge before lawmakers; how to help teachers improve our students’ outcomes and close the achievement gap,” said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. “The majority of the committee took a significant step in the right direction by voting to place instructional emphasis on deep issue knowledge and analytical skills, rather than test preparation. Our member educators appreciate lawmakers’ commitment to their students’ opportunities to learn,” added Hochadel, who taught physics and science in the Connecticut Technical High School System.
 
“SBAC, like so many other standardized tests, was never designed to evaluate educator effectiveness,” said David Cicarella (above, testifying ​in favor of S.B. 380 at the legislature’s Education Committee hearing​)​, a reading and math teacher with 22 years experience in New Haven Public Schools. “Of course teachers must be held accountable; S.B. 380 does not change that in any way. This bill moves the rest of Connecticut closer to adopting a system that continues to employ multiple measures of assessment. At the same time, it will remove a test that is inappropriate for use in evaluations and allow SBAC to measure school and district performance, as it was originally intended,” added Cicarella, who currently serves as president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers and a vice-president on AFT Connecticut’s executive committee.
 
“This bill is an acknowledgment by lawmakers that standardized test scores are a mere snapshot in time,” said Patti Fusco, a teacher of talented and gifted students with 28 years experience in West Haven Public Schools. “The majority on the committee demonstrated their understanding that one test does not give a picture of a student’s growth or an educator’s proficiency. This bill is a step toward grading teachers on what we teach and our students will be better for it,” added Fusco, a member of the West Haven Federation of Teachers and AFT Connecticut’s jurisdictional vice president for PreK-12 educators.
 
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AFT Connecticut represents approximately 30,000 professionals across the state, including PreK-12 teachers, paraeducators and education support personnel in 29 local and regional school districts. Follow the union on Twitter at @AFTCT and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
 
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