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24 Feb 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 117 pages long, we have also created a separate link for the four-page paper alone.
As of this week, over 1380 New York State principals have signed the letter: that's over 30% of all principals in NYS! We have over 5800 total supporters right now. Be sure to check out our website for the most current information.
The New York Evaluation deal reached on 16 February 2012
As you certainly know by now, NYSUT, Commissioner King and Governor Cuomo reached a deal on teacher evaluation in New York State. After the deal was reached, a member of NYSUT’s board was quoted as follows: “What’s good is that this is finally resolved, and we can go about doing what we need to do in our locals to get it behind us.” (Newsday, 16 Feb 2012).
What a puzzling reaction to the deal! Nobody should be pleased that a deal that is bad for students and bad for schools is behind us. This deal gives Commissioner King unilateral veto power of locally developed scales, and it ensures that a teachers whose test scores declare them “Ineffective” cannot be categorized as “Effective” no matter how well they do on other parts of the evaluation rubric. Test scores trump all other aspects of a teacher’s performance.
We need to 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.
A Brief Reading List
This is Not a Done Deal!
Because it makes changes to It appears that this deal might need the approval of the legislature. As such, 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