Legislative Session Ends with Action on APPR, Lead Testing, Mayoral Control

capitolThe 2016 legislative session is officially at an end. While all action items affecting education are currently being reviewed and analyzed, below is a snapshot of three of the major items addressed.

APPR

A deal was struck to extend the deadline for approved APPR plans under section 3012-d until December 31, 2016. Although SAANYS lobbied diligently to delink evaluations from state aid increases (supporting a “delinking” bill put forth by Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan), in the end, the compromise in Albany was an extension deadline to December 31.

Not all lawmakers were happy with the compromise. “At the end of the day, we’re really just kicking the can down the road as I and many others would have preferred a complete delinking of funding from teacher evaluations and other common sense reforms to last year’s flawed teacher evaluation law,” Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, a democrat from Utica, told POLITICO New York. “But I guess December 31 is better than September 1.” 

REQUIRE TESTING FOR LEAD IN SCHOOLS

This agreement will make New York the first state in the nation to put a requirement in statute that mandates periodic testing of drinking water in schools. The state will fund a portion of the testing and remediation costs and will “reimburse these costs on an expedited schedule in emergency situations.”

MAYORAL CONTROL OF NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS

This agreement extends mayoral control in New York City for an additional year.

 

Stay tuned for further updates.

Regional Senate Hearings & APPR Appeals

Senate Hearings

The Senate Standing Committee on Education,  will conduct four (4) regional public hearings regarding The Regents Reform Agenda: “Assessing” Our Progress. The hearings are intended to provide the opportunity to review the impact and effectiveness of recent state education reforms and to dialog about the future of state education policy. Issues of interest to the senators include the implementation of common core state standards, state and local assessments, and the protection of student privacy.  
 
School administrators, members of the greater educational community, and members of the public are welcome to attend the hearings, but oral testimony shall be by invitation only. (I am informed that each site can accommodate approximately 150 people, and entry will be done on a first come-first served basis.) SAANYS will present testimony at the second hearing, to be held in Syracuse on October 1. SAANYS members from the Syracuse area who are available and plan to attend this hearing should contact Jim Viola. If possible, I would like to have some of you seated with me when our testimony is delivered.
 
The schedule for the four hearings follows:
 
September 17 – Suffolk Community College – 10:00 to 2:00
Grant Campus, Health, Sports and Education Center, 1001 Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood, NY
                                                        
October 1 – Syracuse City Hall – 11:00 to 3:00
Common Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, 233 East Washington Street, Syracuse, NY
 
October 16, Buffalo City Hall, 10:00 to 2:00
Common Council Chambers, 13th Floor, 65 Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY
 
October 29, Senate Hearing Room, 10:00 to 2:00
250 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, NY
 

APPR

Completed APPRs were to be issued to principals and teachers by September 3. While SED has indicated that the proportions of ratings across the HEDI categories is approximately the same for 2012-13 as in 2011-12, that statistic is statewide. The proportions across the HEDI categories on a school district or school basis, however, is sometimes substantially different this year compared to last year.

I am taking this opportunity to remind you to be mindful of the APPR Appeals procedures and timelines included in your respective collective bargaining agreements. I am not saying this as an encouragement to initiate such an appeal, but I do not want you to unintentionally lose the opportunity to appeal due to a detail or timeline (e.g., calendar days v. school days). Also, please share your experiences with me. How many teachers were you the lead evaluator for? How many teachers have initiated appeals? How does this impact your time as an education leader? How many principals are initiating appeals?
 
We hope you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you updated.

All the best,
Jim Viola

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING OBLIGATION FOR APPR PLANS

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Despite clear language in the new evaluation law requiring collective bargaining for many key aspects of evaluation, several school districts and BOCES chose to declare impasse and unilaterally develop APPR plans and file them with NYSED for approval. In support of this, they cited a previous PERB decision regarding an issue in Wappingers Falls.  That proves to have been an unwise, simplistic approach to this complex process. NYSED had accepted such plans but had not acted on them. SAANYS, and other representative associations, consistently opposed these APPR plans, disagreeing with the applicability of the Wappingers decision. As a result, formal actions against the districts were initiated and plans for litigation, should the plans be approved by NYSED, were being developed.

On December 28, Commissioner King sent letters to the superintendents of these districts, notifying them that their plans would not be approved absent the signature of appropriate unit presidents representing principals and teachers.  In this letter, the commissioner stated:

“… consistent with the intent of Education Law 3012-c, the Commissioner will not approve APPR unless there is proof of final agreement evidenced by sign-off by the affected unions… “

Commissioner King also indicated that unless a district reaches “final agreement with its unions,” there is a “severe risk” of not receiving the 2012-13 state aid increases. He urged these districts to reach agreement and submit appropriate APPR plans soon.

Now, all districts that chose to ignore the collective bargaining obligation regarding APPR must accelerate such negotiations with teachers and/or principals to minimize this risk. SAANYS will continue to work with our units in these and other districts with unresolved APPR negotiations to settle on fair evaluation procedures for principals. Once the January 17 “deadline” is reached, we will all know which districts have had APPR plans approved and will follow closely the distribution of state aid based on this requirement.

SED APPROVES 107 EVALUATION PLANS

9/19/12 Press Release is below:

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State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. announced that he has approved 107 teacher and principal Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) evaluation plans. In addition, State Education Department (SED) staff has provided feedback to nearly 200 school districts across the state.  The plans were submitted as required under the revised teacher and principal evaluation law passed earlier this year.

“There’s positive momentum,” King said.  “The release of the model plans last month has helped districts move forward, and administrators, teachers and principals have been hard at work to get these plans done.  We’re providing constant feedback to help districts finalize their plans.

“This is all about improving teaching and learning, and the plans we’ve approved reflect that shared commitment.  The goal is to ensure every student graduates ready for college and career, and solid APPR plans will help educators help their students reach that goal.”

King said the hard work of SED employees, working in partnership with Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), has helped keep the approval process on-track throughout the rigorous review of the APPR plans.

King noted that the APPR plans are part of the overall Board of Regents Reform Agenda.  The evaluation plans will help target professional development on areas that need the most improvement. To date, approximately 314 districts have submitted plans for SED review. Under the new evaluation law, districts must have an approved APPR plan in place by January 17, 2013 or they will lose their share of this fiscal year’s education aid increase.  King encouraged districts to submit soon because the APPR review process may take 4-6 weeks contingent on the date of receipt and volume of other submitted plans.

Along with an updated list of approved APPR plans, the APPR model plans can be found at: http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/plans/home.html.  Approved plans are posted on this website on an on-going basis.

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2011-12 Teacher Growth Scores Sent to Districts

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Today, August 16, SED announced that 2011-2012 growth report files for teacher growth scores (a.k.a,, subcomponent one of annual professional performance reviews) are now available to download. In the news release (read here), Commissioner King notes “that only 3,556 principals and approximately 15 percent (33,129) of teachers statewide [teachers of ELA and math in grades 4-9] will have growth scores based on student assessments in 2011-12, and the growth scores will represent only one-fifth of the overall evaluation.” Statewide teacher performance follows:

·         7%      Highly Effective
·         77%     Effective
·         10%     Developing
·         6%      Ineffective

Finally, the commissioner states in the release that, consistent with Chapter 68 of the Laws of 2012, SED will also release to the public aggregated overall evaluation ratings, composite scores, and subcomponent ratings and scores including state-provided growth scores.

Evaluation Confindentiality Bill Passes

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The senate and assembly passed Governor Cuomo’s bill (S.7792 / A.10786) regarding the access and disclosure of APPR evaluations and scores for teachers and principals.

The bills provide a measure of administrative relief for school principals (compared to A.9814-A, which would have required individual meetings with parents/guardians) but we do not feel that principals will receive sufficient or equitable confidentiality – especially those who work in smaller school districts. The bills also establish new unfunded procedural and data reporting requirements for school districts (many of which may impact principals and other school administrators).
A summary of the provisions of the bills follows.  

  • The companion bills specify roles and responsibilities for school districts/BOCES and for SED in fully disclosing and releasing final HEDI ratings and composite scores (0 to 100) from Annual Professional Performance Reviews of teachers and principals. The bills would become effective on July 1, 2012 and require that SED, school districts, and BOCES ensure that any public release of APPR data does NOT contain personally identifying information for any teacher or principal.
  • School districts and BOCES would be required to fully disclose and release HEDI ratings and composite effectiveness scores to parents and legal guardians as follows:

– Upon parent/guardian request, to fully disclose and release to the parents and legal guardians of a student, in any manner (including by phone and in person), the final HEDI rating and composite effectiveness score for each of the teacher and for the principal of the school building to which the student is currently assigned.

– Conspicuous notice of the right to obtain APPR information must be provided to all parents and guardians.

– Orally or in writing, explain the scoring ranges for the HEDI ratings to parents and legal guardians.

– Offer parents and legal guardians opportunities to understand the scores in the context of teacher evaluation and student performance.

– Make reasonable efforts to verify that any review request is a bonafide request by a parent or guardian entitled to review and receive the requested data.

  • SED would be required to fully disclose APPR data to the public on its website or by other means, as follows:

– The data must be suitable for research, analysis, and comparison.

– For principals – by school district – final HEDI ratings and composite effectiveness scores.

– For teachers – by school building – evaluation data.

– Within each district and school building – by class, subject, and grade.

– Final APPR ratings and composite effectiveness scores shall also be disclosed according to state region, district wealth, district need category, student enrollment, type of school (elementary, middle, high school), student need (poverty level), district spending.

– On a year-to-year basis, final HEDI ratings and composite effectiveness scores by the percentage or number of teachers and principals in each rating category moving to a higher rating category than the previous year, to a lower rating category and retained in each rating category.

– Data on tenure granting and denial based on final HEDI rating categories.

Recommendation for APPR Confidentiality

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SAANYS Position:  It remains SAANYS’ position that full confidentiality of APPR evaluations, scores and ratings should be extended to both principals and teachers in the same manner such confidentiality is afforded to firefighters, police and medical personnel.  It is important to remember that the APPR system is unpiloted and untested. At the State Education Department’s Network Team Training conducted from June 5 to 7, a lead consultant for the Department repeatedly said, “We are now entering the land of mid- course corrections.”

Read the full recommendation letter sent to members of the senate and assembly on 6/12/12  http://www.saanys.org/advocacy/positions.asp