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As districts grapple with the mandated costs associated with the implementation of the Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR), important data points might be missed. Lost in the tally of exorbitant financial costs that every school district will be forced to provide is the drain on the time and energy of every educator in the state.
That which is measured or tested gets done, or so says the axiom. This focus will drive attention towards the benchmarks set by the system of monitoring and accounting for all things teaching and learning. Many conversations that have been, and will be, taking place may boil down to the way that it relates (or does not) to APPR. Countless hours of professional time will be guided by the way that we meet the requirements of this plan for accountability.
More than the thousands, if not millions of dollars, being spent on understanding, interpreting, rendering, auditing, and reporting on APPR will be the drift away from a healthy dialogue about teaching and learning. The psychometric tail will indeed be wagging the learning dog when we look back and reflect on how wise our children became with this notion of reform and improvement.
Sure efficiency experts will tell us that there has been plenty of waste in the old system. Yes, editorials demand that the system of American education reboot for the 21st century. No one should dispute the fact that landscape is radically different today as compared to 100 years ago, or even 20 years ago. But bits and bytes as well as dollar signs will never tell the whole story of why the system misses the educational mark for so many in our state and nation. Do not be deceived into thinking that these dollars spent on APPR are an investment that is worth our precious time and energy.
Instead, we should demand that the larger story of educational excellence include a lively debate on the merits of using our time and energy discussing curriculum, effective professional development, teaching practices that stand the test of time, and the fundamental purpose of schooling that will drive sustainable improvement in local communities throughout the land both now and in the future.