NYSUT’s long-awaited legislation to fix the state’s broken teacher evaluation system has been signed into law as part of the 2019-20 state budget.
New York State assessment scores will no longer have to be included in teacher ratings. Instead, all Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) decisions will be subject to local collective bargaining.
For students, the law prohibits districts from including grade 3-8 state test scores in students’ permanent records. Enactment of this law means students and teachers will be better protected from high-stakes tests.
The following is an overview of the new APPR provisions, highlighting what the law does and does not do; consult our Fact Sheet for more detailed information.
Here's what the law does:
1. The law eliminates the state growth model from section 3012-d of the education law. Teacher growth scores will no longer be calculated by the state after this year.
2. It also removes the requirement to use state tests in APPR. This change includes the state’s grade 3-8 ELA and Math tests; grade 4 and 8 science tests; the NYSESLAT; the Alternate Assessment for students with disabilities; and high school Regents exams. Locals that still want to include any of these state test results in their APPR plan may negotiate it.
3. The law places decisions on how to measure student performance at the bargaining table. This means all of APPR will be subject to collective bargaining. Districts will not be making these decisions unilaterally.
4. The law ensures every local can continue to use its current transition APPR plan. There is no pressure to negotiate immediately.
5. The law also allows all teachers to be covered by group measures — removing the high-stakes nature of individual Student Learning Objectives, or SLOs. We believe most locals will use this approach, which will actually reduce testing by eliminating pre-tests. No one will have to increase testing to comply with this law.
Here's what the law does not do:
1. The law does not give any new authority to the Commissioner, and it makes sure she cannot backtrack on any of the measures she has already approved. A full repeal of the law would have given her full authority to put a new system in place. Given her interest in preserving the state growth model, and including a percentage of state tests in evaluations, we believe any system designed by the Commissioner would be much worse than the system in this new law.
2. The Commissioner does not have the authority to mandate a new test. She can approve new negotiated measures submitted by districts.
3. District administrators cannot unilaterally impose performance measures that will be used for APPR. Under the law, performance measures and their use must be collectively bargained.
4. No changes were made to the observation portion of the APPR; this remains subject to collective bargaining.
5. No changes were made to the appeals process or 3020-a/b proceedings.
No immediate action is necessary. The new language keeps your current transition APPR plan in place until a new plan is agreed to at the bargaining table, with no threat of losing state aid.
Local union leaders are encouraged to analyze their current plans and see how it is working for members. Negotiating a new plan under the amended language may give local unions the opportunity to make adjustments and eliminate individual SLO’s for teachers that were required to have one. The new law eliminates the two-tier system where teachers in “tested” subjects must have individual SLO’s or growth scores and teachers in “non-tested” subjects have individual or group SLO’s. Group measures for student growth may now be used for all teachers.
Correct the Tests
NYSUT’s advocacy on state testing is not done.
Now that our APPR bill has been signed into law, NYSUT’s “Correct the Tests” campaign is advocating for a new assessment system that will measure student progress more accurately and address the many concerns raised by teachers and parents alike.