APPR Agreement Reached

At 12:30 today Governor Cuomo delivered an announcement in the Capitol’s Red Room that APPR issues have been addressed. The APPR revisions will be included in a budget amendment and will conform to the “agreements” reached by the parties.

There was no discussion of necessary regulatory amendments, however, Commissioner King indicated that the new APPR requirements are more clear, as previously there was “more ambiguity” in choices.

Based on the announcement it is clear that the APPR procedures maintain the three subcomponents:

Sub-component 1 – State Growth Measures (20 points) – Retains the state growth requirements, including requirements related to the development of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs).

Sub-component 2 – Local Achievement Measures (20 points) – Allows for the use of state assessments in a manner that is different from the way such instruments were used for sub-component 1. It will also continue to allow for other instruments/measures such as SED approved third party assessments and district/BOCES assessments that meet state standards.

Sub-component 3 –  Teacher Performance (60 points) – Will require that “a majority of the teacher performance points will be based on classroom observations by an administrator or principal, and at least one observation will be unannounced. The remaining points will be based upon defined standards including observations by independent trained evaluators, peer classroom observations, student and parent feedback from evaluators, and evidence of performance through student portfolios.”

The agreements apparently also contain APPR appeals provisions that expressly apply to New York City teachers. It will allow for certain appeals to be heard by a neutral panel, apparently based on the basis for the appeal. Such a provision will be of interest to other school districts/negotiators in developing their appeals procedures.

However, all school districts will be required to submit their APPR plans to SED, beginning in July 2012. Each district’s plan will need to be reviewed and approved by SED by the January 2013 due date in order to qualify for the 4 percent increase in state aid. Districts that have an approved plan by September 2012 will receive “bonus points” if they plan to apply for a competitive grant. Commissioner King indicated that he expects that districts with early approvals will serve as models for other districts. In responding to questions regarding SED’s capacity to review approximately 700 APPR plans in a timely manner, the governor added that the “template will be straightforward” and that there should not be “many varieties.”

The governor spoke with Secretary Duncan earlier today, and based on that conversation he believes that any consideration to reclaim federal funds is now “off the table.”  It should also be noted that APPR requirements expressly focused upon principals were not discussed.