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11 March 2012

Dear Friends:
You are receiving this message because you have indicated your support for the New York State Principals' Open Letter Regarding the NYS APPR Legislation ( We thank you for your support and would like to provide you with an update on activities of the past few weeks. As always, the most recent version of the APPR Position paper (with all signatures) is available at: Given that the paper with signatures is over 119 pages long, we have also created a separate link for the four-page paper alone.
As of this week, over 1407 New York State principals have signed the letter: that's over 31% of all principals in NYS! We have over 6100 total supporters right now. Be sure to check out our website for the most current information.
It Is Not Over!
Now is not the time to give up hope of changing the trajectory of the NYS Evaluation system. The proposal agreed upon by the Governor and NYSUT needs to be approved in the budgetary process this month before it become law. As such, you can still reach out to your local legislators and ask them to study the deal and push back against it. While still arguing our points regarding the ineffectiveness and poor practice of the APPR Legislation, we are recommending that the following steps be taken:
  1. Apply the confidentiality provisions of Civil Rights Law §50-a to teachers and principals. This would prevent evaluation scores from being released to the public.
  2. Adjust the scoring ranges so that the 40% attributed to test scores cannot be the deciding factor in an educator’s evaluation.  
  3. Pilot the NYS APPR system for effectiveness before full implementation.
To get these points across, we are preparing a series of advertisements targeted at the legislators. Be on the lookout for press releases and Newsday stories announcing the advertisements.
Of course, we will continue to argue our points:
  • The use of scores as an evaluation tool is unreliable --- there are significant margins of error reported by even the most optimistic supporters of using scores to evaluate teachers
  • The use of value added measures are unstable --- studies have shown teachers experience huge changes in their score from year to year
  • The use of scores to evaluate teachers will change the nature of schools for the worse
  • We are not afraid of “rigorous” evaluations; we welcome them! We cannot, however, accept seriously flawed evaluations.
We Still Need Your Help!
There are still steps you can take:
1. Support the NYS Principals’ letter
You are receiving this message because you have already signed your support. What about your family members? Neighbors? Friends? More support means a louder voice.
2. Write to your elected officials Tell them that the “deal” is hardly a deal. There is far too much uncertainty about the use of these scores to make career decisions.
3. Contact the Governor Let him know that you have been lobbying for students long before he thought of the line and will continue to do so long after he leaves Albany for his next venture.
4. Email the members of the Board of Regents Tell them to stop letting politics dictate education policy. Let’s protect education in New York State.
5. Talk to your school’s parent organization
Parents need to recognize that this is not a “fight” between State Ed and Teachers. This will impact their children and their schools. If they wait too long to get involved, it will be too late!
Thank you for your courage to stand up for our students and schools.
Sean and Carol
Sean C. Feeney, Ph.D.
The Wheatley School
11 Bacon Road
Old Westbury, NY  11568