We Must Speak Out on Education Reform

The APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) has existed in New York since it was hurried into place in response to the federal Race to the Top initiative in 2011. Recently, the education reform act sought to amend the process, but the timeline for districts to implement the new plan is unrealistic, and the plan has not been sufficiently studied and reviewed.  The need for quick revision in the first year after APPR implementation suggests weakness in the process.  A viable evaluation system must be scientifically sound, predictable, transparent and fair.  

We strongly endorse a thoughtful solution to this problem.  In addition to collecting input from administrators, teachers and parents, the legislature needs to ensure that time is taken to do the job right.  

Our state leaders should not view a pause for reflection, research, and improvement as capitulation.  Rushing the process to meet a superficial political imperative will only undermine our credibility.  It will further discourage teachers, our key implementers of instruction, from doing their important work. Ultimately, it will negatively impact New York’s children. We encourage our local community to stand behind the call for greater contemplation and more deliberate action by our education and political leaders.  We need a program that works to improve teacher accountability and is of benefit to teachers, administrators and students.  

Teacher evaluations should be instruments that support growth and development through careful use of multiple measures of individual assessment.  Our teachers deserve a process that is fair and equal across districts.  Student testing needs to be developmentally appropriate, valid, reliable, transparent, properly weighted, and applied within the proper context.  We ask our education and political leaders to work together to develop a meaningful teacher evaluation plan.  We are confident that given the proper consideration, a system can be developed that inspires confidence from both policy makers and educators.

Duplicate letters were also sent to Senator Marcellino, Senator Flanagan, Assemblyman Raia, Assemblyman Lupinacci, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Regent Roger Tilles and Chancellor Merryl Tisch