Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, March 24, 2014

Message To New York Legislators: You Leave APPR In Place At Your Peril

If you make no changes to the teacher evaluation system in NY State, then all the changes you make to Common Core aren't going to mean a damn.

You see, the APPR teacher evaluation system is causing as much damage to children in this state as Common Core is.

Want to know why there is so much testing and rote learning in New York classrooms these days?

Because APPR forces it.

Students are taking so-called performance assessments in every grade in every subject every fall and every spring so that their teachers can be evaluated for the 20% local measurement of student performance component.

Another 20% of the APPR teacher evaluation system has teachers being rated using children's test scores, so there's an awful lot of test prep going on in NY State schools these days too, as those Common Core test scores which Governor Cuomo assures us won't count for students will count for teachers.

If a teacher's local and state test components come up "ineffective," that teacher has to be rated an "ineffective teacher" overall per Governor Cuomo's wishes - you can bet these scores matter to those teachers who want to keep their jobs.

On top of this, the 60% "subjective" component (as if the cut scores SED Commissioner King pulls out of his ass for state tests are "objective") means teachers are being observed somewhere between four and six times a year by administrators who are carrying into the classroom a rubric with 22 competencies on it that requires teachers to teach one way or risk a bad rating.

Many teachers in NYC have been told an effective lesson for every class must be built around a complex text that students wrestle with, any writing must be text-based, and every class must end with an assessment - no exceptions.

This is happening in art classes, gym classes, and vocational classes too, not just in academic subjects like ELA, history and science.

Every lesson in every class starts to take on a Groundhog Day veneer, with children reading complex  texts that they often have no interest in reading and writing argumentative essays about topics that they care nothing about.

If any teachers changes lessons up and adds something a little less "rigorous" for the day - say a text-to-self writing assignment, a creative writing piece, or something else less "Common Corey," they risk an "ineffective" or "developing" rating if an administrator comes into their classroom for a Danielson drive-by observation.

Children are coming to a joyless school environment every day to do the same kinds of lessons over and over, to go over the same test prep over and over, to take the same kinds of assessments over and over in part because of Common Core reforms, yes, but also in part because of the APPR teacher evaluation system.

So my message to you, members of the New York State legislature, is that you leave APPR in place at your own peril.

The rebellion against education reform that is firing up all over the state is not going to end if you delay high stakes for CCSS tests for students for a few years because there is so much damage being caused by Governor Cuomo's APPR teacher evaluation system too.

You leave APPR in place at your peril - there will be consequences for this political and educational malfeasance.


  1. Hey Perdido- I love your work! But you never mention opt-out, or refusing to take the tests. What do you hear about that? Where do you stand on that? Thanks!

    1. Opt out isn't as much on my radar, I think, because I'm a high school teacher and it's a requirement that students pass all five Regents exams w/ a 65 or higher.