APPR & Tenure
Dear Legislator, As a constituent who cares deeply about public education in our state, I believe that we should not require students to take unfair and inequitably administered tests that will not assist in their educational growth and will only promote anxiety during a pandemic. Specifically, I am asking you to suspend, for this year, the Annual Professional Performance Review Process (APPR) for educators, and instead, provide a path to tenure for qualified educators who have been helping students to engage in their learning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. One way to accomplish this goal is to pass S.5576-A (Mayer).
I was quite upset to hear that the United States Department of Education recently decided to require the standardized testing of students during the COVID-19 pandemic. This runs counter to their position last year, when COVID-19 rates were much lower and standardized testing was suspended.
In 2020, the New York State Education Department sought and received a federal waiver from using standardized tests for the 2019-20 school year, which removed the pressure of the APPR requirement by the state for school districts.
Teachers, principals, and supervising staff all depend on APPR as part of their tenure process and school districts can be financially impacted for not conducting APPR reviews.
Tenure is a much-needed safeguard that protects teachers, students and the quality of our public schools. It allows teachers to speak freely and strongly on matters of public education and ensures that teachers have the freedom to teach effectively and the right to oppose policies or cuts that harm students and their schools.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage our state. This virus has impacted different regions of our state and our communities with startlingly different effects. These variations lead to the inequitable administration of tests and gaps in data, which in turn produce flawed test results that are not a true indicator of a student's progress or needs, nor do they accurately reflect an educator's ability.
For all the reasons mentioned above, New York State must suspend the APPR process for educators in the 2020-21 school year, create a tenure process for dedicated and hardworking educators seeking tenure during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and further ensure that school districts are held financially harmless from the one-year suspension of the APPR requirements.
Therefore, I urge you to co-sponsor S.5576-A and work with your leadership to bring this measure to the floor for a vote.
Thank you for your consideration of these important issues, and I would appreciate a reply to my email. Sincerely,
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