Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia Ignores Teachers' Complaints About APPR

NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia spoke to some teachers at Cairo, NY yesterday.

At the beginning of her remarks, she teased out that she would be addressing APPR concerns:

Indeed, Elia began the forum with a tongue-in-cheek question that she never actually answered: "You're probably all wondering, so OK, what is she gonna do about APPR? You are. Let's just get that out there."
The APPR formula has come to be known as the "black box" among teachers at Cairo, who say they still don't understand what metrics the performance review uses or why.

But as is so often the case with MaryEllen Elia, this was a coy PR remark that was never addressed substantively later:

Cairo teachers said they were encouraged that Elia would use their input to improve upon Common Core standards and Common Core-aligned tests. But they left the forum frustrated that their concerns about the Annual Professional Performance Review — the state's controversial teacher evaluation system — weren't treated with the same urgency or consideration.

"If she says it's going to take a while for the kids to get used to the Common Core standards, then why is the APPR being implemented at this time?" said Claire Mackey, a speech pathologist with the district. "If it's going to take years for these kids to get up to the standards, then why are we being judged on them now?"

What a great question!

With 50% of a teacher's rating now based upon these test scores as rolled through NYSED's "black box" - the inscrutable algorithm NYSED uses to come up with the test score component ratings but refuses to show to teachers - why are teachers being judged on the scores now?

And of course the answer is, because Andrew Cuomo wanted it so because his education reformer donors wanted it so and thus it is so.

Elia's just the functionary here, she has no real power to address the APPR mess, but since we all know that's the case, why tease out that she was going to address teacher concerns over APPR in the beginning only to ignore them in the end?

The only recourse to the APPR black box mess is the court system - the judge in the Lederman case is expected to announce a decision either later this month or sometime next month.

NYSED never did show how Sheri Lederman went from 14 out of 20 on her state test component to 1 out of 20 a year later with what were essentially the same scores from students.

I am hearing similar things from teachers this year - that the test score component of APPR seems random and pulled out of a hat by a rabbit high on PCP.

The inexplicable test component ratings that arrive from NYSED based upon an algorithm they refuse to disclose or explain in detail derived from tests that NYSED itself acknowledges are riddled with problems makes the entire APPR teacher evaluation system unfair and unjust.

If MaryEllen Elia truly cared about teachers like she says she does, she would acknolwedge these facts.

Instead she issues some PR jive and continues on acting as the head functionary in the Endless Testing regime.


  1. This is an OUTRAGE....
    What can be done about this undisclosed mysterious complex formula about comparison groups?

  2. She was not hired to listen to teacher complaints. Why anyone would think otherwise is beyond me.

  3. Machiavellian Chico Marx lookalike Quid Pro Cuomo is doing what the guys w the suitcases full of cash in the hotels are paying him to do, and as long as
    Preety Boy continues to get his cut of the vig, ain't a damn thing gonna change.Thank God for my sh*tty knee!

  4. Opt Outs are Ethical. Advocate for Opt Outs.

  5. Can't start a fire. Can't start a fire without a spark. Elia was hired to fire.

  6. Opt outs are ethical.

  7. I think she was hired to be the fall gay (rather gal). She's just taking up space while it all implodes.