Teachers in NYS are afraid to innovate or do what researchers, students, parents, and administrators know is great teaching because the Annual Professional Performance Review has created the death of creativity and vision.
APPR is a return to the use of Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management of the early 20th century. Then, corporate robber barons used Scientific Management to make their industrial factory workers more productive. Today, Robber Barons like Bill Gates pay the NYS department of Education to turn college-educated teachers into industrial employees that productively churn students out as if they were manufacturing Model T’s.
Here are 5 specific examples of the negative effects of APPRs based on predominantly flawed data from flawed tests with manufactured cut scores.
1. “A teacher of the year, I inherited a gifted class whose collective score was 3.2 out of 4.0. For me to be graded as a competent teacher my following year’s class, had to average 3.7. However, my new gifted students only averaged 3.5…so even though the scores improved I ‘needed improvement’.”
2. “I received an email from my principal telling me I was missing a photo of an assessment recording sheet that I had failed to post. If I could post it by 9 am the next morning I would receive an “exemplary teacher” status. If not, I would be labeled” needs improvement”.
3. “To be effective you have to get 75 points on the APPR. I teach self-contained classes. Last year I got 58/60 on my observations. That means that I needed 17 points out of the remaining 40 (20 from local and 20 from state test scores) to be effective. I received 17/20 on local student assessments but only 3/20 from the state. As a result, I was ‘barely effective’.
This year I taught students who have IQs from 56-105. One third of my students were non-readers. What are my chances of being “effective”? More importantly, who is going to want to teach these students under those conditions?
4. “Ninth grade Algebra teachers have higher reported student scores on their Regents exams than do Global Studies teachers and thus have better APPR results.
BUT DOES THAT MEAN THEY ARE BETTER TEACHERS?
On the August 2011 Integrated Algebra “Regents,” test results were WEIGHTED so that a student only needed to get 34% of the questions correct to pass with a 65%. On the UNWEIGHTED August 2011, Global History Regents a student needed to get 72% of the multiple-choice questions correct PLUS at least 50% on the short answer and essay questions to get THE SAME 65% PASSING GRADE.” How is that equitable?
- Finally, NYS high schools are afraid to implement highly successful and innovative programs like the WISE program… where virtually checked out high school seniors get English, Social Studies, and/or CTE credit during the second semester of their senior year by doing a guided, structured, experiential project for which they are intrinsically motivated to highly achieve.
“Imagine being on the operating table when your heart surgeon discovers an unforeseen problem that, because of his experience and practical wisdom, calls for a spontaneous change of plan, yet he doesn’t. He is afraid that deviation from the tested norm will make him lose his position.” You die on the table.
NYS students are dying on the table because our best and brightest teachers are afraid to innovate or rely on tried and true methodologies as a result of APPR phobia.
APPR forces good teachers to leave in droves, replaced by new, cheaper workers willing to follow “fool-proof”, prescribed lesson plans designed (but failing) to achieve higher test scores, not to achieve better understanding and better “learning how to learn skills.”
Who will teach in this “brave new world” where the result is fear and uniformity that sucks the life out of teaching? Not experienced people like me, or thousands of new idealistic, creative, and visionary “20 something’s”.
The use of APPR, with its basis in flawed testing, and the resulting consequences is not how you attract the best and brightest teachers our children deserve.
Let us not forget APPR is only one small piece of the anti teacher, anti public education movement.
High stakes standardized testing, increased charter schools, anti tenure laws, and common core all originate from the same source: the campaign contributions, lobbyists, and theoretically philanthropic foundations of todays corporate robber barons.
As Sun Tzu’s wrote:
o “when the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is collapse.”
It is time for elected officers and the NYSED to listen to their soldiers and not the likes of Bill Gates and the Koch brothers.