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24 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 activities of the 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 108 pages long, we have also created a separate link for the four-page paper alone.
 
As of this afternoon, over 1280 New York State principals have signed the letter: that's over 28% of all principals in NYS! We have over 5370 total supporters right now. Be sure to check out our website, as it has been redesigned to provide more information and announcements.
 
For this update, we must draw your attention to the NYSED application for a waiver of the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as NCLB. Please read below and respond to our request at the end of this message! This is time-sensitive information of critical importance.
 
The US Department of Education is accepting applications for a waiver from the requirements of ESEA (also known as No Child Left Behind). In particular, NCLB mandates that 100% of students be proficient in mathematics and English by 2014. No state expects to achieve this standard, hence the need to file an application for a waiver.
 
Unfortunately, New York State’s waiver application codifies the flawed APPR linkage of student test scores and teacher evaluation, and it also expands the testing given to students. The New York State Education Department is accepting comments on its application through January 30th. Please go to http://www.p12.nysed.gov/esea-waiver/ for more information.
 
Included in this email is a letter that we will be sending about the waiver request. Given that it outlines issues that are part of our APPR Letter, we would like to include all of our signatories as part of the letter.
 
If you DO NOT want your name included as part of this response letter, please reply to this email with a brief message beginning with Do Not Include Me.
 
Please note that we will be sending the letter on Friday, so your request to exclude your name should arrive by Thursday afternoon.
 
You can find a copy of this letter on our website: https://www.newyorkprincipals/esea-waiver. Please feel free to modify it and send it separately under your own name.
 
 
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Dear Dr. King and members of the Board of Regents:
We are deeply disappointed that the serious concerns expressed in our letter regarding the use of test scores for educator evaluations which is signed by 1280 New York State principals and 4200 teachers,  administrators, parents, superintendents, professors of education and citizens at large were disregarded in the recently posted draft ESEA waiver request to the United States Department of Education. Rather than addressing our concerns regarding the use of test scores to evaluate educators, this application further institutionalizes APPR and extends it by:
  • Including APPR as presently designed as a rationale for granting the waiver
  • Adding additional tests in ELA in grades 9 and 10 to generate VAM scores
  • Increasing proficiency levels on the English Regents to 75 and the math Regents to 80 and mastery rates to scores of 90 and above
  • Using elementary and secondary student test scores as one of three measures by which to hold teacher education programs accountable
 Further, we are concerned that we could not find on the State Education website or in the document the costs associated with the waiver, costs which the state of California estimates to be in the range of 2 billion dollars. See the article posted here: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/12/local/la-me-no-child-20111112.
We request that prior to submitting the waiver application, the State Education Department prepare and publicly share the costs of the waiver and that the concerns expressed in the principals’ letter be addressed.
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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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