Democrat & Chronicle
Justin Murphy, @citizenmurphy 3:18 p.m. EST November 19, 2015
No school district in Monroe County — and only a handful across New York — will be required to submit a teacher evaluation plan this year under a new, controversial set of standards.
The new teacher and principal Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) framework enacted by the state earlier this year relies more heavily on state test scores, stipulating that teachers who come up short on that measure cannot be rated effective. Like many of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education proposals, it drew criticism from school districts and teachers across the state.
Besides their complaints about the nature of the new evaluations, districts said it would be impossible to draft and negotiate new teacher evaluation agreements by the Nov. 15 deadline. In response, the state allowed districts to apply for a “hardship waiver” that would push their deadline until March.
Of the 707 school districts in New York, all but 72 asked for and received the waiver, according to the New York State Education Department. They include every district in Monroe County.
“The timing didn’t match schools’ schedules and ability to negotiate, and the topic is one that people do not agree … is an appropriate way to supervise and rate teachers,” West Irondequoit Superintendent Jeff Crane said. “And folks are wondering why there are hardships.”
Since the outline of the changes was approved in the budget process last spring, the state Board of Regents has made some amendments, including an appeal process for teachers rated ineffective. The state education department has also pledged to “re-examine” the way it measures student growth.
No matter how unpalatable districts and unions find the new law, they now have until March to come to an agreement.
“Unless there are major changes coming (from the state), we can get to a point where we’ll meet the law,” Crane said. “But agreement with that law — I’ve said it before and I’ll
say it again. It’s absurd.”