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More information contact:
Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190; nys.allies@gmail.com
Jeanette Deutermann (516) 902-9228; nys.allies@gmail.com
NY State Allies for Public Education – NYSAPE
Parents Demand the NY Legislature Repeal the Education Transformation Act & APPR; Stop Playing Political Games with Our Children’s Education
NY State Allies for Public Education, a coalition of over 50 parent and educator groups active across the state, vehemently opposes the new teacher evaluation bill, passed by the NYS Assembly and now being considered by the NY Senate as S08301. This bill would change the teacher evaluation system in the state for the fourth time since 2010. This bill, like the current evaluation system, fails the most important measure, it does absolutely nothing to alleviate the impact a test-and-punish system has had on our children.
Contrary to the claims of some of its supporters, a careful reading of the bill indicates that it continues to link teacher evaluations to growth scores, using either state standardized exams or alternative assessments approved by the State Education Commissioner. The bill also leaves the controversial HEDI rubric and corresponding weights in place.
NYSAPE recognizes that the American Statistical Association and the National Science Foundation have concluded that rating teachers based on student growth scores yields statistically invalid and flawed results.
Jeanette Deutermann, a co-founder of NYSAPE and leader of Long Island Opt Out, said “Backroom deals and political leveraging have resulted in an Assembly and Senate bill that purposely fails to decouple test scores from the teacher evaluation system, fails to reverse the destructive receivership law, fails to remove the arbitrary and capricious growth model, and leaves room for grade 3-8 state assessments to once again be used in our evaluation system. Teachers and students deserve a bill that reverses the destruction caused by the Education Transformation Act.”
NYSAPE shares the concerns of the New York State School Boards Association and the New York Council of School Superintendents that this bill, if passed, could mean even more testing.  If districts decide to tie teacher ratings to student scores on alternative assessments, those assessments would come in addition to the annual state tests that are required by federal law.
Education historian Diane Ravitch points out, “The current teacher evaluation law (APPR) was passed to make New York eligible for federal funding from the Race to the Top program in 2010. Under this law, 97% of teachers in the state were rated either effective or highly effective. The law is ineffective. It should be wholly repealed, rather than amended as proposed. Let the state continue setting high standards for teachers and let local districts design their own evaluation plans, without requiring that they be tied to any sort of student test scores.”
“The entire idea of basing teacher evaluations on student growth is a farce. Districts will create new metrics that are just as unreliable and invalid as the grade 3-8 test scores. It is time that politicians cease meddling in matters they do not understand and return teacher and principal evaluation back to professionals and elected school boards,” said Carol Burris, the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education and a former New York State High School Principal of the Year.
“The worst outcome would be if this faulty bill passed in exchange for more concessions to charter schools, either increasing their funding or raising the charter cap.  Already charter schools in NYC are given preferable treatment in being able to claim free space at the city’s expense, when more than half a million of our public school students are crammed into overcrowded schools, with no hope of relief,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.
Parents and educators have been demanding for a long-time that the APPR system be entirely repealed so districts can design their own evaluation plans untied to student test scores.  It’s time Albany stands up for children and stops playing political games with their education.
NYSAPE is a grassroots coalition with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state.

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