As your constituent and someone who cares deeply about public education, I strongly urge you to pass legislation to restore local control of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) process by allowing school districts to either keep their current APPR system or allow them to collectively bargain a new system.
In the three school years since the beginning of the pandemic (2019-20; 2020-21; and 2021-22) the APPR process has been paused. During this time, students and educators were forced to adjust abruptly to remote learning. They then returned to the classroom where they have been forced to confront issues such as learning loss, increased anxiety and other lingering health and mental health challenges that were brought on by the pandemic.
Statewide, in the 2020-21 school year, out of over 700 school districts, only 30 school districts conducted their collectively bargained APPR process. The current APPR statute is cumbersome and expensive and has taken up precious time and resources from administrators, supervisors and classroom educators alike and all agree that changes must be made.
The current APPR system stems from the federal "Race to the Top" educational program that was enacted in 2009 and is no longer required by federal law.
In fact, when the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in 2015, after receiving input from administrators, educators and their constituencies, bipartisan consensus was reached very early on in bill negotiations that the federal government should not be involved in educator evaluation. Currently, New York state is preforming a task that is not required to receive federal educational funding.
Accordingly, I urge you to work with your conference and your leadership to pass legislation that will pause the APPR process for the current school year and return local control to school districts while ensuring accountability and providing a path to tenure.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I look forward to a reply to my e-mail.