Tag Archives: APPR

Annual Professional Performance Review

Parent meeting with Commissioner Elia

Commissioner Elia came to Ulster County on Tuesday December 8, 2015 and I was one of the three parents from the Kingston City School District invited to attend the parent meeting with her.  The meeting was arranged through BOCES and I know there were parents from both Ulster and Dutchess counties.  Not sure if Orange county was represented or not.

Commissioner Elia seemed to be a very nice lady and was definitely more successful at creating rapport with the parents than our previous commissioner, John King. Commissioner Elia spoke for more than half of the hour scheduled for our meeting with her and we didn’t actually start at 1:15pm so only 5 parents had opportunity to ask any questions.  I wasn’t one of those who asked a question this time around (I did get to address Commissioner King when he visited Spackenkill back in 2013).
Commissioner Elia took time to introduce herself and give her background in education.  She then gave a history of Common Core and explained how a lot of people categorize everything as “Common Core”.  She said that when talking about Common Core, we should just be talking about the standards and that there are four “buckets” of things people have issues with:
  • standards
  • curriculum
  • assessments
  • evaluation system

She also noted that we have had standards since 1647 and that the evaluation system has been changed four (4) times since Common Core was introduced.

Commissioner Elia is right that all of the above items/issues get lumped under “Common Core”.  In fact she missed including excessive data collection.  However I disagree with her that the standards are the only part that should be appropriately referred to as “Common Core”.  Each piece of this package is intricately woven together and can not function/succeed without the other pieces so it is indeed appropriate to refer to the package in its entirety as Common Core.

Commissioner Elia talked about the state department of education AimHighNY survey on the Common Core State Standards and reported that 71% of the 10,500 respondents were supportive of the standards.  I thought it was interesting though that she then proceeded to state that comments included statements that someone liked a standard but it should be in a different grade, for example it should be in grade 1 but it is in kindergarten.  My question is: how can the standard be liked/considered good if it is in the wrong grade?  The standard identifies what the children are supposed to know at the particular grade so if the standard is in the wrong grade then the standard is wrong/bad.  This is how some people defend the developmentally inappropriate Common Core State Standards – “they are okay if you just do them a little differently”.  The standards were written so that all states across the country would be teaching students the same things in the same grades and therefore students could move from state to state without missing out on pieces of their education.  If states can just move standards from one grade to another, we no longer have COMMON Core.
Commissioner Elia didn’t talk about it but I want to make sure everyone knows about another important survey.   New York Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) conducted a survey on the Common Core State Standards for one week and received about 12,000 responses.  You can click to read full details about the survey but the key points are:
  • 70 percent oppose the Common Core standards
  • Over 80 percent of respondents indicated that they believe ELA and Math standards in grades K-3 are developmentally inappropriate for many students
  • 91 percent say that the Common Core exams in grades 3-8 are flawed
  • 54 percent indicated that high schools should use the previous NYS Regents exams rather than new exams aligned to the Common Core standards
  • 96 percent say that test scores should not be linked to principal or teacher evaluations
  • 86.5 percent say that the state should abandon the Common Core standards and return to the New York’s former standards until educators can create better ones
The first parent/teacher who spoke was from Ellenville and felt that students spend too many days taking the state tests.  One of the parent’s comments was that perhaps a fixed 90 minute testing time is not appropriate and that perhaps students who were engaged in taking the test should be allowed to finish their test if they desired to do so, even if it took longer than the ‘allowed’ testing period.  I interpreted the comment to be a suggestion that the testing time should not be so regimented.  Apparently Commissioner Elia interpreted it differently because she asked the audience to raise hands if we thought students should be allowed to take longer than 90 minutes to finish their test.
Dr. Robin Jacobowitz, parent and board of education member from Kingston, was in attendance at the parent meeting with me and shared the “Time on Test” report in response to the suggestion to allow children to spend even more time on the standardized tests. Her concern was that even more than the current 4 days of lost instruction time could be lost but Dr. Jacobowitz’s comment was after the hand vote was taken by Commissioner Elia.
I was surprised when Rev. Childs reported at the KCSD Board of Education meeting on December 9 that Commissioner Elia said the department was considering allowing students to take longer than 90 minutes on their tests because Commissioner Elia didn’t tell us the idea was already under consideration when the idea was proposed in the parent meeting.
Concerns regarding testing and special education were mentioned by most if not all of the parents who spoke.
This quote from a parent, who I believe was from Red Hook, summed up the parent comments pretty well – “Someone owes these kids an apology for what they have been through.  It’s really not fair.”

NYSAPE Survey Shows New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Reject Common Core Standards, Tests & Evaluation Policies

In response to NYS Education Department’s AimHighNY survey on the Common Core that many parents and teachers found excessively complex and not open to general comments, New York State Allies for Public Education created a user-friendly survey and posted it online between November 23 and November 30. Close to 12,000 New Yorkers filled out our survey in just a week’s time. According to Commissioner Elia, only 5500 completed NYSED survey in three weeks’ time. Governor’s Common Core task force has received 1,798 submissions since December 2, according to Politico.

The respondents to the NYSAPE survey overwhelmingly reject the Common Core standards, believe the state exams and test-based teacher evaluation system are flawed, and that these reforms have worsened instruction in both English Language Arts and Math at the classroom level.

Read NYSAPE’s full press release below.

New Yorkers reject Common Core

New Yorkers reject Common Core

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2015
More information contact:
NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org

NYSAPE Survey Shows New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Reject Common Core Standards, Tests & Evaluation Policies

In response to NYS Education Department’s AimHighNY survey on the Common Core that many parents and teachers found excessively complex and not open to general comments, New York State Allies for Public Education created a user-friendly survey and posted it online between November 23 and November 30. Close to 12,000 New Yorkers filled out our survey in just a week’s time. According to Commissioner Elia, only 5500 completed NYSED survey in three weeks’ time. Governor’s Common Core task force has received 1,798 submissions since December 2, according to Politico.

The respondents to the NYSAPE survey overwhelmingly reject the Common Core standards, believe the state exams and test-based teacher evaluation system are flawed, and that these reforms have worsened instruction in both English Language Arts and Math at the classroom level.

Parents, teachers, administrators, school board members and concerned NY residents all took part in the NYSAPE survey. Of special note, 11 percent of our survey respondents also completed NYSED’s survey and 32.9 percent attempted to complete NYSED’s survey but gave up.

Of those who responded to the NYSAPE survey, 70 percent oppose the Common Core standards, 4 percent support them, 23 percent have concerns with them, and 3 percent are undecided. An even higher percentage –83 percent — believe the Common Core standards in both ELA and Math have worsened instruction. 83 percent also disagree with the shift to close reading strategies.

Over 80 percent of respondents indicated that they believe ELA and Math standards in grades K-3 are developmentally inappropriate for many students. Fewer than 4 percent of respondents say that the ELA and Math standards for grades 4-8 are well designed.

For grades 9-12, only 2 percent of respondents approve of the ELA and Math Standards. Only 6.2 percent agree with the Common Core’s quota for informational text versus literary text.

An overwhelming number – 91 percent –say that the Common Core exams in grades 3-8 are flawed, while fewer than 1 percent believe they are valid or well-designed. Among those who find the tests to be flawed, many believe the tests are developmentally inappropriate, too long, not useful for assessing students with disabilities and/or English language learners and that reading passages and questions are too difficult and confusing.

Of our respondents, 54 percent indicated that high schools should use the previous NYS Regents exams rather than new exams aligned to the Common Core standards, while roughly 40 percent believe that students should not have to pass any high stakes exams to graduate.

Those who took the NYSAPE survey are nearly unanimous, at 96 percent, that test scores should not be linked to principal or teacher evaluations. 86.5 percent say that the state should abandon the Common Core standards and return to the New York’s former standards until educators can create better ones.

The full results of the survey are posted here: http://www.nysape.org/nysape-cc-survey-results.html

“NYSAPE’s findings are in line with the poll results and most of the testimony to the Governor’s Common Core Task Force. There is no way around this; the Governor and the legislature must eliminate these Standards, revamp the tests, and reverse the harmful education laws,” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and NYSAPE founding member.

One of the survey respondents said, “As a teacher who trained at Bank Street College of Education, I find the standards developmentally inappropriate. As a reading specialist, I find the kindergarten standards far too high in reading and writing. As a parent, I am very concerned because I have a child who hates reading because it was pushed so hard at his school.”

“The results of the survey confirm that the vast majority of parents and teachers do not approve of the Common Core, and oppose the rigid quotas for informational text and ‘close reading’ strategies that have straitjacketed instruction throughout the state. They want to abandon these standards, and return to our previous ones until educators can craft better ones. We hope that state policymakers, including the Commissioner, the Governor, the Board of Regents and our legislators, will listen,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.

“The tremendous response to NYSAPE’s survey underscores that parents and educators are eager to be heard. The fact that the Commissioner Elia could not create an accessible survey only fuels concerns about her competence and willingness to truly engage parents and practitioners,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent, Rethinking Testing member and educator.

“Vice Chancellor Bottar attempted to portray the appointment of Commissioner Elia as a positive change, assuring the public that she would be able to communicate more effectively with parents and educators to find common ground. Vice Chancellor Bottar’s continued poor judgement and complicity with the failed reform agenda can no longer be tolerated; it is time for him to step down,” said Jessica McNair Oneida County public school parent, educator and Opt Out Central NY founder.

NYSAPE, a grassroots organization with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state, is calling on parents to continue to opt out by refusing high-stakes testing for the 2015-16 school year. Go to www.nysape.org for more details on how to affect changes in education policies.

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New Paltz BOE Stands Against Use of State Tests to Evaluate Teachers

The New Paltz Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution against the use of state test scores to evaluate the efficacy of teachers and schools on November 4, 2015.

Read the resolution here.

After seven points about the Value Added Model (VAM), the BOE concludes:

Our conclusion is that the results produced by the current assessment system are unproven, volatile, and lack utility. We call upon the Board of Regents and Legislature to immediately suspend all state assessments that use a VAM or growth theory until there is evidence of efficacy.

The BOE gives four points about APPR and concludes:

Our conclusion is that the current APPR mandates are invalid measures of educator- and school district-effectiveness and present serious short- and long-term risks to the availability of instructional talent.

Finally after three points on the utility of student assessment data, the conclusion is reached:

Our conclusion is that the data produced by the state assessment system provide no value while simultaneously diverting resources away from initiatives that serve districts’ missions.

Based on the conclusions presented, the New Paltz Central School District makes the following recommendation:

The Board of Education of the New Paltz Central School District asks the Board of Regents, State Education Department, New York State Legislature, and Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare an immediate moratorium on the current testing mandates and for that moratorium to continue until such time as a body of evidence for their efficacy in improving instruction has been fully established. We also request that no Smart Bond funds are expended to computerize an evaluation system based on the Value Added Model. – New Paltz CSD Board of Education Resolution Regarding Value Added Model

Note the request to not use any of the Smart Schools Bond fund money for testing.  A concern of many of those who advocated against passage of the Smart Schools Bond Act was that it would be used to cement testing/Common Core within the schools.  We need to make sure that does not happen while everyone is still ‘deciding’ what is to be done about Common Core/testing.

The New Paltz BOE will send their resolution to the Board of Regents, including our local Regent Josephine Finn, for consideration before the Regents meeting on November 16, 2015.  The New Paltz BOE also asks that the resolution be shared widely so that other New York parents and school districts can contact the Board of Regents to show support of the resolution.

Parent Speaks Regarding the Impact of Standardized Testing

Even though some of the references are different because this parent lives in Indiana rather than New York, she has hit the nail on the head over all!

This educational environment has become a pressure cooker for our kids and teachers because the legislature has decided that somehow educators weren’t accountable enough. The learning and teaching process has been transformed into a test-taking, data collecting nightmare to somehow prove accountability… at the root of which is an apparent deep distrust of teachers.

We’ve had standardized tests for a long time. But it is what is at stake when the kids take the test now that has transformed their experience.

Read here.

 

Florida Superintendents Announce They Have Lost Confidence in the State Accountability System

As you read this announcement from Florida school superintendents**, please remember that our new commissioner MaryEllen Elia has been most recently employed as a superintendent in Florida and has been touting her support of the Florida testing and evaluation systems since her arrival this past summer.

From the announcement:

Florida superintendents have consistently defended and supported accountability, the new Florida Standards, and the need to accurately measure student performance. At this time, FADSS is compelled to provide a position regarding the recent actions of the Department of Education (DOE) and the State Board of Education (SBE).

Florida district school superintendents have lost confidence in the current accountability system for the students of the State of Florida.

Bubble test3

Commissioner Elia told us she would be going on ‘listening tours’ around the state to hear from stakeholders when she started her job.  There hasn’t been much ‘listening’ going on on the tours though. Commissioner Elia already has her mind made up about Common Core regardless of what New York parents think.

A Siena College poll found that 64% of Néw York voters either oppose Common Core or thinks it has made no difference.

She also said, ““The United States used to lead the world educationally, but we’ve fallen to the middle of the pack. Our students are lagging behind, and the global economy is growing more competitive every day.”

Actually, that’s not true. The U.S. never led the world on test scores. When the first international tests were given in the 1960s, the U.S. students came in last. Yet over the next 50 years, our nation surpassed the other 11 nations that took the same test by every measure: economic productivity, technological innovation, military might, creativity, and democratic institutions. The test scores of 15-year-olds do not predict our future. The policies of our government, the decisions of corporations to outsource jobs, our treatment of our children and communities matter more.  – “Elia:  We Are Sticking with Common Core, No Matter What the Public Thinks” – Diane Ravitch September 25, 2015

I wonder if Commissioner Elia would be listening to her fellow superintendents if she was still employed in Florida?

If you missed all the questions and concerns associated with the hiring of Commissioner Elia back the end of May 2015, check them out here.  A few of the highlights:

A former school superintendent in Florida who led efforts to tie teacher evaluations and pay to student achievement and was fired after clashing with her board was appointed New York State’s education commissioner on Tuesday.  – “MaryEllen Elia named New York State Education Commissioner” New York Times

From Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Answer Sheet May 26:

Carol Burris, an award-winning principal in New York, said this about Elia:

“It is now apparent why the Board of Regents did not reach out to stakeholder groups and inform them that she was a candidate–if her support for merit pay, the Common Core, Gates Foundation grants,  the formulaic dismissal of teachers, and school choice were known, certainly there would have been an outcry from New York parents and teachers who have had more than their fill of test-based reforms.  The message of 200,000 Opt Outs has not been heard.”

 

** Reports regarding the Florida superintendents’ announcement:

Board of Regents approves 50% of teacher evaluation based on state test scores

The Board of Regents voted 10-6 to approve the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system that bases 50% of the evaluation on the test scores of the students sitting in the classroom.  The current evaluation system is not just bad for our teachers; it is bad for our students!

I am getting tired of the ‘heavy hearts’ and ‘nose holding’ but still going along with what Governor Cuomo wants. The state legislators did it in March (read here and here). The board of Regents did it in June and again today. I want someone in Albany to have the guts to stand up and tell Governor Cuomo that his education plans are BAD and New York says No!

Regent Tilles talks of a ‘lack of confidence in the current evaluation system’ but he still voted for it.

“We have to express a lack of confidence in the current evaluation system,” said Regent Roger Tilles of Long Island, who voted for the rules. “We have to express a lack of confidence in the current growth model. We have to … call for changes to the evaluation system as it currently exists.”  – “After debate, Regents pass teacher-evaluation rules”  Democrat & Chronicle September 15, 2015

I KNOW I have a lack of confidence in 10 members of the Board of Regents who voted to continue the current teacher and principal evaluation system that places 50% of the evaluation squarely on the shoulders of the students sitting in the classroom.

Diane Ravitch got it exactly right in her blog on September 16, 2015:

Today, the New York Board of Regents will vote to approve the harsh and punitive educator evaluation plan that Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through the Legislature last spring as part of a budget bill.

In doing so, the Regents will abandon their Constitutional authority over education policy. The New York State Constitution grants full control over education to the Board of Regents. It grants none to the Governor. The Governor does not appoint a single member of the 17-member Board of Regents. The State Legislature selects them. The Governor does not appoint the state Commissioner of Education. That is the job of the Regents.

Today the Regents will approve Cuomo’s plan to tie 50% of educator evaluations to student test scores. The Governor’s plan was shaped in his office, without benefit of hearings, public discussion, public debate, or expert testimony.

The Regents have the power to reassert their Constitutional authority. But they are weak. They will fold to the will of a Governor whose determination to rule is greater than the Regents’ commitment to the State Constitution. Or to the children, or to the educators, or to the best interests of education in New York.

Parents have been ignored throughout this charade of the Governor flexing his political muscle. They will have a chance to be heard next spring, when the tests are administered. More students will opt out, more than the 220,000 who refused the tests in 2015. Will it be 300,000? 400,000? This is parents’ only means to be heard. They will be heard.

I will be doing everything I can to make sure that the 10 Regents who voted in support of the continued emphasis on state testing today will NOT be re-appointed.  Ulster County representative Regent Josephine Finn is one of the 10 who voted to continue the teacher evaluation system that is harmful to our students, teachers and local public schools.

Regents APPR vote 9 16 2015

Regents Rosa, Cashin, Chin, Collins, Johnson and Ouderkirk voted against the teacher evaluation system in June and again today. Please thank them for taking a stand for the children.

I will also be encouraging parents to continue to REFUSE the state tests for grades 3-8.  Apparently 220,000 test REFUSALS were not enough to let New York State know that the tests are unsatisfactory to the parents of New York so I guess we will have to have more REFUSALS.

Test refusal letter links:

 

Diane Ravitch response to the widely expected (and disappointing) “vote” by the NYS Regents today making Cuomo’s attack on public schools permanent. Again, no surprise that the weak Regents bowed to a bully Cuomo, but the blatant ignoring of over 20,000 written appeals to vote NO is appalling. The Regents, Legislature and Governor are all begging parents to Opt their kids out of this mess (oh.. And they’re renaming Common Core – same problems, different name).

All 6 votes against we’re women, all men voted yes joined by 3 women and Brown from Rochester was absent. Nice.

“Today, the New York Board of Regents will vote to approve the harsh and punitive educator evaluation plan that Governor Andrew Cuomo rammed through the Legislature last spring as part of a budget bill.

In doing so, the Regents will abandon their Constitutional authority over education policy. The New York State Constitution grants full control over education to the Board of Regents. It grants none to the Governor. The Governor does not appoint a single member of the 17-member Board of Regents. The State Legislature selects them. The Governor does not appoint the state Commissioner of Education. That is the job of the Regents.

Today the Regents will approve Cuomo’s plan to tie 50% of educator evaluations to student test scores. The Governor’s plan was shaped in his office, without benefit of hearings, public discussion, public debate, or expert testimony.

The Regents have the power to reassert their Constitutional authority. But they are weak. They will fold to the will of a Governor whose determination to rule is greater than the Regents’ commitment to the State Constitution. Or to the children, or to the educators, or to the best interests of education in New York.

Parents have been ignored throughout this charade of the Governor flexing his political muscle. They will have a chance to be heard next spring, when the tests are administered. More students will opt out, more than the 220,000 who refused the tests in 2015. Will it be 300,000? 400,000? This is parents’ only means to be heard. They will be heard.”

Call Board of Regents today 9/16/15 BEFORE 3pm!

The resolution to make the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system permanent is on the Board of Regents agenda for 3:15pm today September 16, 2015.

Contact Ulster County Board of Regents member Josephine Finn and tell her to vote NO on making the evaluation system permanent.

Josephine Finn (518) 474-5889  Regent.Finn@nysed.gov

 

Also contact the at-large Board of Regents members and tell them to vote NO.

Merryl Tisch  (518) 474-5889   Regent.Tisch@nysed.gov

Lester W. Young, Jr.  (718) 722-2796  Regent.Young@nysed.gov

James E. Cottrell  (718) 270-2331  Regent.Cottrell@nysed.gov

Wade Norwood  (585) 436-2944 (when you get his work # its 110 NOT 111)  Regent.Norwood@nysed.gov

If you are not familiar with the problems associated with the evaluation system and why it is bad for STUDENTS and teachers, click on the APPR topic in the right sidebar to read more.

Contact the Board of Regents today!

Contact Ulster County Board of Regents member Josephine Finn and tell her to vote NO on making the current, temporary teacher and principal evaluation system permanent at the Regents meeting next week (September 16-17, 2015).

Josephine Finn (518) 474-5889  Regent.Finn@nysed.gov

The current evaluation system (temporarily approved by the Board of Regents in June 2015) is not just bad for teachers.  It is bad for our students.

This evaluation system bases 50% of the evaluation on the test scores of the students sitting in the teacher’s class.  Talk about a heavy weight on those students’ shoulders.  Such a heavy emphasis on the tests also promotes teaching to the test and narrowing of the curriculum which adversely affect students’ education.

You can read further on why the tests are bad for teachers AND students here.

Call and email Regent Finn now!

Dr. Hynes supports parents and teachers

Dr. Michael Hynes, district superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District on Long Island, stands with his parents and school staff in support of the children.

Dr Hynes and Commissioner Elia

This letter is one demonstration of the support Dr. Hynes is giving his district.  He is not encouraging test refusal but simply informing parents of their right to refuse and asking for the school district to be notified so the district/schools can be prepared to deal with any test refusals that may occur.

The letter that Dr. Hynes sent to his district families is very much like what Assemblyman Jim Tedisco is advocating for as part of the Common Core Parental Refusal Act.

The letter Dr. Hynes sent to at least one of his district teachers made me cry because of the compassion it shows and the depth of understanding of how broken our educational system is right now.

Hynes teacher test score letter

Unfortunately Commissioner Elia will be ‘supporting’ superintendents to make sure that their staff and parents understand how important state testing is (whether the superintendents agree or not).

We, as parents, must stand behind the district superintendents and other administrators throughout New York State who are supporting parents, teachers and children against the current educational madness being called ‘reform’.

Check out these two petitions which, if acted upon by Albany/Board of Regents, will protect not only parents but superintendents like Dr. Hynes.

 

** Update since I started this post:  Commissioner Elia is clarifying her position on opt-outs according to an article from this afternoon (8/31/15).

Commissioner Elia says parents “absolutely” have the right to opt their kids out of state standardized tests, but she says she still wants to talk to them to try to bring them back to the fold.

“We haven’t done enough communication,” Elia said. “But if parents understand it and they still want their child to opt out, that certainly is their right.”

She admits the tests “have problems” and are “too long.”

So Commissioner Elia understands parents’ rights but will she LISTEN to what is wrong with testing, Common Core and New York State education?  Or does she still believe she has all the answers and just has to convince parents and superintendents like Dr. Hynes that they “don’t understand”?

 

Student test scores/high-stakes tests still 50% of teacher appraisal system

The New York State Senate and Assembly were supposed to end session last Wednesday June 17, 2015 but they have not yet done so.  They are returning today to try and wrap up ‘important’ issues.  One of the items still undecided is the impact of state standardized testing on our children and the teacher appraisal system.

The New York Board of Regents approved a new teacher evaluation system last week which still bases 50% of a teacher’s evaluation squarely on standardized testing.

Gone is the old rating method that lasted just two years and scored teachers on 20 percent local test scores, 20 percent state test scores and 60 percent classroom observation.

The revisions mean 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation and rating will be based on state standardized test scores. The other half will be based on assessments developed by the local district. State Education Department staff wanted state tests to account for 80 percent of the evaluations, while some Regents and teachers union officials called for only 20 percent.  – Regents OKs new teacher evaluation system

Seven Board of Regents members submitted a letter protesting such usage of standardized testing in the evaluation but Regent Finn, the Regent for Ulster County, withdrew her support of the letter bringing the count down to six Regents  opposed and the majority passed the new evaluation system regardless of the letter.

The NYS Senate passed bill S5954 on June 15 that supposedly deals with the education problems we are facing but the bill is not up to snuff in my opinion.  You can read my analysis of the new bill S5954 below**.

Bottom line is that if a school district’s teacher evaluation plans are not submitted on time and with full compliance shown, no money for the school districts per Senate bill S5954. The Senate has NOT uncoupled the funding from APPR and 50% of the teacher evaluations are still based on standardized testing!  Also the Senate bill does NOT match the NYS Assembly bill A7303A passed last month and session is supposed to have ended so the likelihood of the two groups getting together to pass a bill that Governor Cuomo will then sign into law is about NIL!

The Assembly bill does not address a number of important issues, and in fact does not relieve the testing strain for children (read here), but it does at least uncouple school funding from implementation of a new APPR plan.

Will the educational mess that was introduced by Governor Cuomo’s state budget be dealt with before the legislators end session or will we be left with school funding still tied to a new APPR plan based 50% on student test scores that has to be negotiated in each district and submitted by November 15, 2015?  Sounds to me like Governor Cuomo is about to get exactly what he wanted!

 

** Details of Senate bill S5954:

  • Senate bill S5954 is pretty much the same as Senator Flanagan’s original education proposal S5124 (which I discussed here and here) except that school districts have until February 15, 2016 to submit their new appraisal plans.
  • Some extra wording regarding review of test questions is supposed to help ensure that the questions are readable at grade level but I am not convinced it will significantly help students due to the many problems with the standardized tests.
  • S5954 adds a restriction against teachers having to sign confidentiality agreements preventing them from discussing the content of the state tests.
  • The section regarding the election of board of regents members that was in S5124 has been removed from S5954.
  • Senator Bonacic believes this bill makes positive reforms for our kids.   “My colleagues and I have listened and received the concerns of parents, students, teachers and administrators regarding this process and I believe this legislation makes positive reforms,” said Sen. John Bonacic said in a statement. “This bill goes a long way in allaying any fears that students and teachers may have had when Governor (Andrew) Cuomo unveiled his initial education proposals.” – Regents OKs new teacher evaluation system – Times Herald Record June 16, 2015  I disagree based on my concerns noted for the original bill S5124 and those listed above.
  • CLASS went to Albany on May 27, 2015 and met with each of the majority members of the Senate education committee to request changes to Senate bill S5124.  Changes requested by CLASS and NYSAPE were NOT incorporated into S5954.

NYSAPE Demands 4 23 2015