School superintendents from the Lower Hudson Valley say it's time for the state to shut down it's failed teacher-evaluation system and to pilot new models with the involvement of administrators and teachers.
"There is no simple fix," Valhalla Superintendent Brenda Myers said. "We want this to stop. You can't just mandate and roll out this system and publish scores that are invalid. We warned that this would happen and now we need a moratorium."
The state Board of Regents, which sets education policy, began pursuing a new evaluation system in 2009 as part of its agenda to "reform" schooling in New York. With the strong support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Legislature adopted a system into law in 2010 that has been widely criticized by school districts and teachers.
A new study commissioned by the superintendents group identified problems with the complex scoring system. Superintendents also say they gleaned little useful information from the first full year of results.
"If the goals of this reform agenda were to improve teacher accountability, improve a district's ability to remove incompetent teachers, to provide data to inform teacher practice, and improve student achievement — it has been a costly and wholly avoidable failure," said Harrison Superintendent Louis Wool, who co-chairs the committee with Myers.
The goal of the reform agenda is always to breed as much chaos and disruption in the public education system as possible.
The more chaos and disruption reformers can bring to education, the faster they can destroy it, privatize it and profit off of it.
APPR is an emblem of chaos and disruption, bringing about wholesale changes to teacher evaluations that have done nothing to improve the system but much to exhaust the people and resources in it:
For 2012-13, the first year when all school districts outside New York City used the system, 91.5 percent of teachers statewide were rated "effective" or "highly effective." Results for 2013-14 are expected to be released by the end of the year.
State Education Department officials have said that they want to review more data before considering changes. But local superintendents do not want to wait. They say the current system falsely implies that teachers can be compared based on their ratings.
"The system creates an illusion of accountability," Byram Hills Superintendent William Donohue said.
The study commissioned by the superintendents group looked at 2012-13 results for 1,400 teachers in 32 districts in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties. It found that, because of the state's uneven scoring scales, districts must give teachers high scores for classroom observations — an average of 58.1 out of 60 — to ensure they don't get "unjustly" low overall ratings.
It's a mess and it was meant to be a mess.
And it's only going to get worse:
Cuomo has said several times in recent weeks that the evaluation system needs to be revised. He told "The Buffalo News" that results have been too positive.
"Not everybody can get an 'A,' it can't be," he said.
So get ready for the reformers and the politicians in their pockets - like Cuomo - to push for the so-called accountability mechanisms to get ratcheted up because not enough teachers around the state were found "developing" or "ineffective" even as local superintendents are saying the system is worse than useless and calling for it to be scrapped.
If you're a reader of this blog, you know I'm with the superintendents and want to see the system scrapped.
That's because real accountability for teachers must be built into a fair, just, workable evaluation system - and APPR wasn't built for that and can't be made into it.