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4 Dec 2011

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 (www.newyorkprincipals.org). We thank you for your support and would like to provide you with an update on all that has happened since the New York Times published its article last Monday.
Some numbers to report:
  • Over 745 New York State principals have signed the letter: that's over 16% of all principals in NYS
  • We have nearly 4000 supporters now -- teachers, supervisors, parents, superintendents and board members included!
  • Dr. Tom Sobol, former New York State Commissioner of Education, is one of our supporters!
Some Considerations:
Our paper has been the topic of conversation throughout our state and even our country! The paper was mentioned in a national conference for Social Studies teachers in DC this past weekend, and we have been contacted by organizations in several states looking to replicate our efforts. The New York State Commissioner of Education has been critical of the paper in several interviews as well. Please be reminded of a few important points as attention on the paper intensifies:
  • As educators, we have been and continue to be supportive of many of the initiatives that the New York State Department of Education has undertaken. We are strongly opposed to the APPR regulations because they are not based in research, they will change our schools for the worse, and they will cost too much during strained economic times.
  • As presently constructed, the APPR legislation is most harmful to students, schools and teachers. It is essential that supporters read the research links onwww.newyorkprincipals.org in order to understand what makes it so harmful.
  • People do not fully understand how APPR is driving the reforms at NYSED. The elimination of the January Regents exams, the impending changes to the Regents calendar, the notion that our youngest students can sit for hours of testing and the fact that the Mayor of New York City thinks that the best way to improve schools is to fire half of the teachers and double class size are all related to the ideas embedded in the APPR legislation.
  • Read Carol's posting for a more detailed explanation of why APPR is so damaging: http://roundtheinkwell.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/why-appr-will-be-so-damaging-to-educators1.pdf
 Some Steps to Take:
We need to continue to build support for our position! It is particularly important that we increase support upstate. Some steps you need to take include:
1.      Contact your local legislator! They are in session on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and I can assure you that few of them are aware of how their vote in May 2010 has been translated into a program that has such a negative impact on our schools.
2.      Be sure that you are familiar with the three areas of concern, the ten talking points and the three recommendations. Lost in this discussion is the fact that we are NOT running away from the use of scores as part of an evaluation of teachers and principals. We want this done in a way that is supported by the research regarding what works best in schools.
3.      Share the letter with your colleagues -- teachers, principals, central office administrators -- and encourage them to support it. The more signatures we get, the more powerful our message will become! Everyone is welcome to support the letter!
4.      Make your parents aware of the issues related to APPR and encourage them to support the letter. I presented the issues at our recent PTO meeting and found that parents had little idea of what was happening with the State.
5.      If you know of a principals association in your region, kindly provide me with a contact name so I can reach out directly to the executive board! Reach out to your teachers association as well! Every contact matters!
6.      Tweet, Share, Facebook or whatever it takes to get the message out! We have a number of signatories from out of state! Remember: www.newyorkprincipals.org
 
Thank you once again for taking a stand on such an important issue!
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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