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Monday, May 12, 2014

MTA elects anti-Common Core leader

Barbara Madeloni, an outspoken opponent of the Common Core and high-stakes testing, won election this weekend as president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. Madeloni’s victory is the latest signal that local and state affiliates are growing restive with the national unions’ efforts to find common ground with education reformers — and want a more militant tack. Last month, an insurgent ticket won control of the 600,000-member New York State United Teachers, after painting the incumbent union leaders as too accommodating of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform platform. Last week, the Chicago Teachers Union passed a resolution slamming the Common Core. Over the weekend, the Seattle Education Association’s incumbent president narrowly beat back an unexpectedly strong challenge from a teacher who had led a much-publicized boycott of the standardized MAP tests last year.

— As she takes the helm of the 110,000-member MTA, Madeloni vows to call for a three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing, including a ban on using test results to evaluate schools and teachers. She promises a vigorous campaign to expose “corporate forces” behind the education reform movement and to seek ties with other unions “to develop a national strategy to resist the undoing of public education.”

— Madeloni’s position statement on Common Core calls it a “money grab for testing and curriculum development companies” that will narrow the curriculum and limit teachers’ academic freedom. She also opposes the concept of common national standards, writing that “our democracy must be about diversity and not standardization.”

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Gregory G. Nadeau
Public Consulting Group

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