Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, March 28, 2015

There Will Be No Way To Fight An "Ineffective" APPR Rating If Cuomo Gets His Way On Education Reform

NYMuniBlog posts a list of 22 items that Cuomo wants as part of his "Opportunity Agenda" and says the top line items may be high-level distractors to help win passage of some of the items further down the list.

Here's the list:
  1. Adjust the APPR subcomponents to be 50 points on state tests and 50 points on Other Measures;
  2. Thirty-five points of Other Measures will be determined by independent evaluators;
  3. Have the state set the scoring bands for both student growth and observations;
  4. If a teacher is rated ineffective in either portion, then the total score cannot be effective or highly effective;
  5. Tenure granted when a teacher achieves five consecutive years of effective or highly effective ratings;
  6. Expedited hearings (maximum time of 60 days) extended to cases of accused physical or sexual abuse of a child. Teacher’s charged with abuse will be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the hearing. If a teacher is convicted of a violent felony against a child, he/she will automatically have his/her certification revoked;
  7. If a teacher receives two ineffective ratings in a row, the teacher would only be able to rebut this strong indication of incompetence by “clear and convincing evidence” that the calculation of one of the ratings was fraudulent;
  8. Eliminate the legal requirement that districts must attempt to “rehabilitate” teachers who are incompetent or engage in misconduct;
  9. Remove the requirement that children must testify in person. Allow them to testify via sworn written or video statements;
  10. A clarification of existing law that a non-tenured teacher may be dismissed at any time for any reason;
  11. A student cannot be assigned two ineffective teachers in consecutive school years;
  12. When a school is determined to be failing for three years, a non-profit, another school district, or a turnaround expert must take over the school. This is similar to the Massachusetts Model. New York has 178 “priority schools;”
  13. Students in failing schools will have additional options such as being provided with preference in the charter school lottery;
  14. Raise the charter school cap from 460 to 560 and make it statewide not restricted by region. New York City only has 24 charter applications remaining under its cap;
  15. Create an “anti-creaming” provision to ensure charter schools provide opportunities for high-needs populations;
  16. Pass the $100 million Education Tax Credit for public and private scholarships to promote choice in education;
  17. Pass the DREAM Act to allow the advancement of undocumented immigrants by enabling them to apply for TAP;
  18. Extend mayoral control of public schools in New York City for three years and consider applications from other cities;
  19. Maintain investment in statewide universal pre-K for four-year olds. Commit $365 million in funding for full-day programs for the 2015-2016 school year;
  20. Expand pre-K to three year olds in targeted high-needs districts. Allocate $25 million to support this program for children with the greatest needs;
  21. Launch the New York Youth Mentoring Commission chaired by Mrs. Matilda Cuomo, pro bono. It would create a cadre of mentors from the private sector and nonprofit partners to work with foster children, children in high-needs communities and other children in need; and
  22. If the legislature passes these “reforms,” the Governor will propose an increase in State aid of about 4.8 percent or $1.1 billion.

Here's the item that concerns me greatly:

If a teacher receives two ineffective ratings in a row, the teacher would only be able to rebut this strong indication of incompetence by “clear and convincing evidence” that the calculation of one of the ratings was fraudulent;

In short - two ineffective ratings in a row and you're gone.

There's no fighting an "ineffective rating" if Cuomo gets what he wants.

You'd have to prove "fraud" to get a rating overturned.

Now you and I know that the whole test regime in the state is fraudulent and that SED's calculation of the APPR test component based on those tests is fraudulent too - that's why they haven't been able to show cause for why Sheri Lederman received an "ineffective" rating on her test component last year in the case she has brought against the state.

But imagine having to prove the testing regime and NYSED's calculation of your test component was fraudulent in order to keep your job.

Or imagine having to prove that your observations were rigged in order to find you ineffective.

Good luck with that.

NYMuniBlog points out, the teachers unions have gone hard and heavy at the first couple of items on Cuomo's list - specifically the part that mandates 50% of a teacher's rating be based on test scores

But we haven't heard them go specifically at some of the other items lower on Cuomo's list - items like a teacher needing "clear and convincing" evidence that fraud has occurred in the calculation of part or all of her/his rating to have an ineffective rating overturned.

That may be part of Cuomo's strategy:

While the teachers unions focus their attention on derailing the first item on this comprehensive list, the remaining 21 concepts may make their way into the final budget with the appearance of being lower profile accomplishments. Increasing the test points as a component of APPR is not an effective educational concept, but it may be a very clever distractor. In reality, the placement of this controversial item on the top of the governor’s priority list may be the strategic sacrificial lamb the governor needs to achieve many of his actual and achievable education program priorities.

We'll know soon enough what's going to be done with Cuomo's education reform agenda.

The deadline for budget negotiations to end in time for an online budget is tonight.

Will "clear and convincing evidence of fraud to over turn an ineffective APPR rating" make it into law?


  1. So, I'm a music teacher in a high school in Queens. My rating is based off of the Social Studies dept and the tests such as Global and US History. If I'm scored Effective, but the regents tests are terrible, subsequently bringing my rating to ineffective, I believe I can certainly prove "fraud" based on my situation. I also feel thousands upon thousands of other teachers in this sick catagory of tests linked to us, can prove that it just does not reflect an accurate view of our evaluations.

    1. Do you have the tens of thousands of dollars for the court costs or are you married to a lawyer who can handle your case pro bono (as is happening for Sheri Lederman)?

    2. No, I don't, BUT I can go with a UFT lawyer.

    3. You can only go with a UFT attorney if the UFT/NYSUT wants to take the case forward. The UFT a gets to decide what they take, just as they decide whether or not to proceed with a higher step for a grievance.

    4. Wrong. That would not be fraud since it would be a good faith interpretation of a contractual agreement or state statute. What you mean is that you think it is unfair. Terribly unfair.
      For your information,NYSUT (UFT) lawyers are not interested in what you consider fair or unfair so you will have to hire your own lawyer. And you will lose in any case.

  2. Two points: 1) Tenure will become MEANINGLESS if this passes. 2) The UFT/NYSUT will become MEANINGLESS if this passes due to the fact that tenure will become meaningless.

    1. I agree with you on both points. This is the end of the union if this is ever enacted. This is what the State Senate GOP/Dean Skelos has stated publicly it supports ? That is mind boggling. If NYSUT ever supports any member of the Assembly and Senate that supports this it would be disgraceful.

  3. If this passes I honestly believe that there will be an effort on the part of teachers to break away from their unions. Why should I pay the UFT over $1,000 a year if they can't use their lawyers to prevent me from getting fired? To me, the UFT/NYSUT has one purpose: to defend teachers wrongfully accused of anything. If Cuomo's agenda passes, no lawyer in the world will be able to help a teacher keep his or her job. Thus, there is no use for the UFT/NYSUT. They will become mere fringe benefits organizations.

    1. they have been fringe benefits only for years. they haven't been doing much defending anyway so how is this different? as long as ny is not right to work everyone pays dues so not much changes. cuomo et al want a union - just dethoothed politically.

    2. Newsflash:

      UFT isn't defending anyone now. Teachers have had to get PRIVATE ATTORNEYS in order to get proper representation.
      Teachers need to start a movement to break away from UFT or at least the Unity caucus.

    3. NTU in Newark is not doing much defending either. Newark Public Schools has filed charged against one of the high profile union officials. Now the union will be busy defending him.

  4. The UFT/NYSUT do have a bankroll of decent lawyers who do represent teachers brought up on 3020A charges. My point is that if the new policy becomes law there will be a ton of teachers deemed "incompetent" due to VAM and no lawyer will be able to defend these teachers. Thus, no need for the UFT/NYSUT. And yes, as long as NY remains a non-right to work state, it will be difficult for teachers to break away from their unions but that is what needs to change. I am not proposing that NY become a right to work state, what I am preposing is that the UFT/NYSUT will become so powerless that teachers will really begin to stand up and say "enough".

    1. You bring up a good point as those found 'ineffective' will have been found ineffective properly (according to the state's new statutes) and UFT/NYSUT lawyers will not have the time or money to overturn the statutes and certainly no time or money to fight for those properly (according to the law) dismissed.

  5. If Cuomo's wishes come true, these rules will last for 3 or 4 years, max. After Cuomo is dethroned, sound minds will prevail, and the Cuomo Education Agenda will be smoldering on the ash heap of failed reform. In the meantime, the test refusal movement may just make his plan moot.

  6. Teachers: Starve the beast. Refuse the test on behalf of your own children.

  7. We need to rage against the fascist Cuomo......if we don't let NYS see he's a spoiled little bitch, HE WILL GET TO BE PRESIDENT!!!!!!!