PARCC and APPR more than letters of the alphabet

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“PARCC is all about technology,” said Thomas McDaid, the assistant superintendent for business for the Malverne schools. “To meet the mandate, we are going to have to spend $260,000 on technology this year and another $260,000 the following year.”

“There are lots of things we have to look at before we even start spending the money,” he added. “For example, if we use iPads, will they have the battery power to get through the entire testing cycle? Would a less expensive table serve as well as a laptop or desktop computer? We are not sure which way we are going to go, but we know that the expense will be there no matter which way we go, because we will need hundreds of devices.”

Local districts are less eager to speak about a second unfunded mandate, the Annual Professional Performance Review System, better known as APPR.

In 2010, the federal government awarded New York State $700,000 in Race to the Top grants, about half of which will go to the performance review process.

The New York State School Board Association, however, says that the federal money will fund only about half the cost for what the process will cost most school districts.

“School boards have long supported the goals of the new evaluation system as a way of improving student achievement,” said the organization’s executive director Timothy Kremer. “Our analysis shows, however, that the cost of this state initiative falls heavily on schools districts. This jeopardizes school districts’ ability to meet other state and federal mandates and properly serve students.”

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