Cuomo website tracks local APPR progress
On Board Online • March 12, 2012
By Cathy Woodruff
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is using the Internet to make it easy for New Yorkers to track individual school districts’ progress toward putting a new state-mandated teacher evaluation system in place.
The governor on March 6 added new features to the interactive “Students First” portion of his state website, including a map that allows users to click on specific counties and determine the status of individual school district evaluation plans. Right now it’s a blank, but check marks are due to appear as soon as districts submit plans and after they are approved by the State Education Department.
Site visitors also receive frequent opportunities to sign up for email alerts notifying them of a particular school district’s progress on implementing a teacher and principal evaluation system. A handy button leads to links to school district websites, which visitors are encouraged to use to send a message urging completion of evaluation pacts before a Jan. 17, 2013, deadline set by Cuomo.
Sound like a do-it-yourself kit for citizens to put pressure on local school boards? That’s the idea. “Now that we have created a national model for teacher evaluations, we need the parents, students and people of New York to help us make sure it gets implemented in our schools,” Cuomo said in a written statement accompanying the announcement.
And to support Cuomo’s assertion that New York’s evaluation system is “one of the toughest in the country,” the Students First site also now includes an accounting of how other states stack up on selected benchmarks related to implementing teacher evaluations, compared with New York.
The state-by-state chart reports whether a teacher evaluation plan has been passed and whether it includes each of four elements: implementation by the 2012-13 school year, use of multiple classroom observations, use of student achievement data and linkage of implementation to school aid.
The chart gives New York credit in all five categories. Three other states – Arizona, Rhode Island and Tennessee – were given credit on four of the categories, but New York is the only state in the nation that has tied eligibility for state education aid to evaluation plans – a provision imposed by Cuomo.
The site features a rolling assortment of quotes from New Yorkers praising Cuomo’s leadership on education matters. One comes from Kevin R. Simmons, a principal in the Smithtown school district on Long Island: “Teachers are the key to our children’s educational future and it is for this reason that teacher accountability must prevail in order to measure and enhance student achievement.” Another comment is attributed to Jonathan Kornreich, vice president of Three Village school board: “I applaud Governor Cuomo’s commitment to increase school aid to the maximum amount allowable under state law.”
The web address is www.governor.ny.gov/BuildingaNew1/ny-students-first.