As the Board of Regents moves to create a process for teachers to appeal the findings of their performance evaluations, the idea gained the endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Both the teacher evaluations and an appeals system for teachers doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive, Cuomo said on Wednesday.
“Yes, I think they should have an appeals process, I think there should be an evaluation process, but it should be fair and it should be transparent,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo, a key architect of the current evaluation system approved by state lawmakers in the March budget plan, told reporters there “should be an appeals process” out of fairness to teachers.
“That evaluation has to be fair and it has to be transparent,” Cuomo said while in Rochester. “It’s only right if a teacher believes that if the evaluation is wrong, they should have a right to an appeals process. You’re talking about their evaluation that could determine their seniority, their raise, etc.”
Cuomo's bending ever so slightly in order to not be broken backward defending APPR.
The Lederman case exposed the bell curve that rigs 7% of teachers as "ineffective" as well as the arbitrariness of the test score VAM (Lederman went from 14 out of 20 to 1 out of 20 in one year's time while her students garnered similar scores on their state tests.)
In addition, APPR horror stories where districts are given awards for the excellence of their schools while the teachers at those schools are rated "developing" on Cuomo's APPR system have surfaced, further making the system indefensible.
Same goes for the stories of teachers at schools slated to be closed, many rated "ineffective" or "developing" one year, then getting magically rated "effective" after they go to other schools that aren't closing.
So Cuomo, in order to look fair about his APPR system, says he's okay with an appeals process for it, but only if it's "fair and transparent."
Ah, that is the rub, isn't it?
As has been shown in the Lederman case, APPR is anything but fair and transparent - NYSED refused to tell Sheri Lederman why she went from 14 out of 20 to 1 out of 20 on her test score VAM and twice tried to have Lederman's lawsuit dismissed on grounds that she wasn't harmed since she was rated effective overall (see here and here.)
Cuomo never had a problem with NYSED failing to explain to Lederman and other teachers just how they came to their test score VAM, but now all of a sudden he's in favor of appeals only if they're "fair and transparent."
In fact, Cuomo responded with a straw man argument when he was asked about the Lederman lawsuit, claiming teachers just don't want to be evaluated rather than acknowledging the problems that Lederman raised with the system.
It remains to be seen if by "fair and transparent," Cuomo means the kind of fairness and transparency currently on display in the APPR system and with how NYSED wields it.
I'm skeptical this "appeals process" is anything other than more PR, another "tweak" that will amount to little change when all is said and done.
We shall see.