Q & A

let us teach, let them learn

New York’s teacher evaluation system is broken. And now is the time to fix it. After seven long years fighting against a flawed evaluation system that misuses standardized tests to unfairly rank and sort teachers, new legislation introduced in Albany would help put the focus back on what matters most in our classrooms — teaching and learning.

This is the year to fix APPR. That’s why NYSUT is launching a full court press to end this test-and-punish system and restore local control. The Annual Professional Performance Reviews shouldn’t rely on mysterious mathematical algorithms that spit out invalid and unstable growth scores. Nor should children continue to be plagued by over-testing.  Tests should inform instruction and accurately measure achievement.

Q: What would this legislation do?

A: Senate Bill S.8301 and Assembly Bill A.10475 would return control over teacher evaluations to local school districts and teachers, allowing them to collectively bargain performance review systems that help teachers grow professionally while meeting the unique needs of their students.

The state would no longer require that standardized tests be used in individual teachers’ evaluations — something that nine states have already done. In addition, the legislation eliminates the state’s growth model, the inaccurate and unstable mathematical algorithm rigged to every year assume that 6 percent of teachers are “ineffective.” 

The bill prohibits test scores from becoming part of students’ permanent record, further de-emphasizing the state’s reliance on standardized tests.

These major changes would go a long way toward creating a fairer and more effective evaluation system.

Q: Why is this important?

A: Teachers and parents are fed up over how the state’s over-reliance on standardized testing has sucked the joy out of teaching and learning. The bill gives local districts the flexibility to curtail unnecessary testing and would help restore the faith of parents and educators by ensuring that results are being used for educationally sound reasons.

Q: What would be the other benefits of this bill?

A: This bill would allow school districts and teachers unions to collectively bargain their own performance review systems. Local control of evaluations will help to eliminate unnecessary testing and allow teachers to refocus on teaching and learning. This would help win back the trust and confidence of parents and teachers and help restore respect for the teaching profession.

Q: As a teacher or parent, how can you help fix this broken system and return the joy of teaching and learning to our classrooms?

A: Thanks to you, we are closer than ever to fixing New York’s flawed and unfair teacher performance review law. For years, you have called, faxed, emailed and tweeted at your representatives in Albany. As a result, more than 120 lawmakers have sponsored A.10475 and S.8301.

If you want to fix the State’s outrageous, failed and flawed professional performance review law, click here to call your senator and demand swift approval of S.8301.