This Open Letter has been signed by 1280 Principals across New York State as of January 23, 2012, including 38 from Erie County and eight principals from the Buffalo Public School District.
The APPR is an evaluation system the New York Regents developed that the New York State Legislature used to approve an amendment to Education Law 3012-c in order to qualify for the federal Race to the Top funds on May 2010.
These professional educators and administrators have a problem with the state using standardized test scores to rate their performance, including those developed to assess student learning such as the Regents examinations and the Grades 3-8 Assessments.Thus, not only will students be adversely affected by the NYS APPR, but the most vulnerable students poor whites, black and Latinos academic progress and achievement suffer as the things they need the most in the curriculum, enrichment activities such as the arts, music, home and careers, physical education and other non-tested areas diminish. One of their concerns:
"Schools will have an incentive to place struggling students in lower-level classes without standardized assessments School systems may hesitate placing students in Regents classes beyond the basic five needed for graduation so that their performance on Advanced Regents examinations will not negatively impact evaluations. If schools use advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores, as Commissioner King suggested, schools might be more reluctant to challenge students upward for fear that poor test performance might result in teachers being unfairly penalized." And teachers will subtly but surely be incentivised to avoid students with health issues, students with disabilities, English Language Learners or students suffering form emotional issues. Research has shown that no model yet developed can adequately account for all these ongoing factors."