Sunday, March 17, 2013

My comments on #NYSED 's survey on the new #APPR

I received am email from NYSED asking for feedback on the new APPR process. Most of the questions were standard fare, but the last one was open-ended commentary. I took the opportunity to rant/vent, and had the presence of mind to copy my comment before I hit submit.

Here it is, for your viewing pleasure:
The new APPR makes sense in theory. In theory, we should all be collecting data about our practice and our students, and using that data to improve our teaching and their learning. However, in practice, making a change this massive, and without any organization from the state, will create an organizational nightmare. For instance: the talk regarding the pre-assessment for the SLOs is to give an incredibly difficult exam on content the students have not learned yet (with the expectation that they will do poorly on it). Then, after you spend the year teaching that content, they should shine and show outstanding growth. Jobs saved! 

This is a ridiculous predicament you (NYSED) have put us (teachers) in. Why should anyone take the pre-assessment seriously, knowing the the objective is failure. The students are aware of this as well - what will their motivation be? And how does that bode for the start of a school year: let me set the tone for the year of failure. Not education. Not improvement. But pre-planned and intentional failure. From a socio-emotional perspective, that is suicide. 

Add in an INCREASE in tests, which equates to a DECREASE in available teaching time, and Gov Cuomo's tax cap, where will teachers have the time to teach. When will administrators, who are already strapped for time today, have time to administer? How will districts afford more unfunded state mandates? By cutting teaching staff? Because that will improve education, right? Larger classes, more preps, less time. Sounds like a party. 

In theory, this all makes (some) sense. In reality, it will destroy education for a good long while. Has anyone at NYSED considered what the fallout will be? What will teaching and, more importantly, learning look like once the proverbial dust has settled?