July/August Issue - APPR/Teacher Evaluation
June 30, 2015

Legal challenges to APPR progress through the courts

Author: By NYSUT United staff
Source: NYSUT United

NYSUT is pursuing legal action in courts around the state challenging the fairness of the state's Annual Professional Performance Review used to evaluate teachers.

Last month, the Suffolk County Supreme Court denied a motion by the William Floyd School District to dismiss NYSUT's case that, in essence, claims 22 teachers were improperly rated as developing because the district failed to properly implement their Student Learning Objectives.

NYSUT's suit says principal meetings to set SLO targets according to the district's APPR plan never occurred. This violates the APPR plan and adversely affects NYSUT members' right to a proper APPR rating.

The court noted that if the allegations are true, the failure to get a proper rating does affect a substantial right. The court ruled against the district's motion to dismiss, saying the claim was timely since internal appeals were exhausted.

A case brought by the Rochester and Syracuse teachers associations, claiming the state did not consider the effects of poverty in its evaluation system, awaits a ruling on the state's motion to dismiss. Oral arguments on the motion were presented in October.

NYSUT anticipates filing more claims should the State Education Department move forward with regulations that increase the weight of state tests in teacher evaluations.

Meanwhile, a suit brought by Great Neck teacher Sheri Lederman challenging the state's evaluation system won its first round. Lederman contends APPR is unfair to her and her colleagues because of statistical flaws. A State Supreme Court justice ruled that Lederman has legal standing to sue SED.