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15 Jan 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 (http://www.newyorkprincipals.org/). We thank you for your support and would like to provide you with an update on all that has happened over these past few weeks. As always, the most recent version of the APPR Position paper (with all signatures) is available at: http://www.newyorkprincipals.org/appr-paper. Given that the paper with signatures is over 105 pages long, we have also created a separate link for the four-page paper alone.
 
As of this afternoon, over 1250 New York State principals have signed the letter: that's almost 28% of all principals in NYS! We have over 5370 total supporters right now.
 
For this update, we want to draw your attention to a very important time for us.
 
Rumor has it that Governor Cuomo is going to 'drop the hammer' this week and insist that everyone immediately begin putting APPR in place. It is rumored that there will be a small window of time for negotiations, and then a state plan will be enforced if a local plan is not bargained. This is what was suggested in a letter to the governor sent by a coalition of so-called reform groups (one of which is Michelle Rhee's group).
 
Please read these two editorials. You will be appalled by their tone, but you will see that the message is clear.
 
 
 
Not only will this put in place an awful evaluation system that we oppose for the reasons stated in our letter, it is also an affront at collective bargaining and our ability as educators to have meaningful input into the governance of our schools. We must not stand by while public schooling is dismantled piece by piece for political gain and private profit.
 
We understand why APPR is not being successfully bargained. It is because the system, as designed, is incoherent, incomplete and not in the best interest of students and public schools.
 
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, please take a moment to stand up for the great equalizer of opportunity: our public schools.  Our public schools are not perfect, but they are far better than what corporate reformers and profiteers have in mind. Please write to your local public officials, using one of the three templates below as a guide (if you choose).
 
Find your assemblyman here http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?sh=search
Find your senator here http://www.nysenate.gov/senators
 
Here are three suggestions for emails to copy and personalize.
 
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1.  Dear _______________________
 
I am one of the signatories of the New York Principals' letter opposing APPR (you can find a copy of the letter at www.newyorkprincipals.org).  APPR is not being negotiated successfully because it is a deeply flawed system that does not serve the interests of our students and schools.  It was rushed into place, and the concerns of the committee of educators who gave generously of their time to try to shape it were ignored.
 
Please do not support any attempts to rush its implementation.  It would be a great disservice to our students and the public schools that deserve our support.
 
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2. Dear _______________________
 
I understand that there is increasing pressure to rush into place APPR, the educator evaluation system, while bypassing collective bargaining. APPR is not being negotiated successfully because it is a deeply flawed system that does not serve the interests of our students and schools. I suggest that you watch the video linked below to understand why educators are opposed. This bizarre video was shown by the State Education Department during its summer Network Team Training. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3hge6Bx-4w 
 
Our students and taxpayers deserve better than what this system offers. Please work to delay implementation of the present APPR system until a workable evaluation system that will improve our schools can be developed. 
 
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3. Dear __________________
 
I am one of the signatories to the New York Principals' letter opposing APPR. (The letter can be found at www.newyorkprincipals.org.)  Please do not support any attempts to rush its implementation.  It would be a great disservice to our students and the public schools that deserve our support. I cannot underestimate how deeply concerned educators have become due to the constant barrage of attacks on their professionalism and service.  I ask that you read the letter that expresses our concerns about APPR and allow the light of day to shine on its flaws.
 
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Thank you for your courage to stand up for our students and schools.
 
Sean and Carol
 
 
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Sean C. Feeney, Ph.D.
Principal
The Wheatley School
11 Bacon Road
Old Westbury, NY  11568
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