A New York Daily News editorial features findings from the new report from StudentsFirstNY and calls for reform to address the unsatisfactory distribution of teacher quality in New York City.
The editorial shines a light on the inequalities in the distribution of teacher quality, commenting:
To the shame of the city, New York’s worst public school teachers are concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods — where children need the most help…
None should be able to sleep at night knowing that high-poverty schools, which employ 45% of the city’s teachers, are stuck with 54% of the instructors who received unsatisfactory ratings in the 2011-12 school year. At low-poverty schools, where 15% of the teaching force works, just 7% got U ratings last year.
StudentsFirstNY's new report released January 10 shows that students in high-poverty areas of New York City are more likely to be taught by teachers considered "unsatisfactory." Therefore, our students who need the most help are more likely to be in classrooms with ineffective teachers.
The NY Daily News quotes StudentsFirstNY’s Executive Director, Micah Lasher, in the article:
"It's a double hit," said Micah Lasher, StudentsFirstNY's director. "These kids start out with challenges, and then we give them a sub-par education. We're making the challenges worse."
The Daily News shared some of the reports concerning findings and reported that the Department of Education is already considering implementation of the report's recommendations:
Nearly half of the city’s schools had no U-rated teachers at all. Yet U-rated teachers were concentrated in certain schools, particularly in struggling neighborhoods of central Brooklyn, the South Bronx, southern Queens and lower Manhattan. At a stunning 30 schools, 20% of teachers had unsatisfactory ratings. Two schools had lemons in at least a third of their classrooms.
A new report from StudentsFirstNY released yesterday, January 10, draws a concerning conclusion about New York City schools: Schools with high minority populations and low test scores have more teachers with unsatisfactory ratings. The Wall Street Journal highlighted key findings from the report, including the following analysis of data from the 2011-12 school year:
The report released Thursday by StudentsFirstNY said that in schools where nearly all students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—a generally accepted measure of poverty—3.4% of teachers were rated unsatisfactory. By contrast, 1.3% of teachers in more affluent schools had earned the low rating.
The Wall Street Journal also explored the question of why impoverished schools see a significantly higher number of unsatisfactory teachers:
There have been various explanations offered for why impoverished schools have more sub-par teachers. Some believe poorer schools are used as a dumping ground. Union officials say teachers in poorer schools receive less training and are more likely to be rated unsatisfactory.
StudentsFirstNY’s Executive Director, Micah Lasher, discussed the implications of the report’s findings:
"This is a very complicated issue and there are a lot of unanswered questions," said Mr. Lasher, a former lobbyist for the city. "But the data is troubling and deserves a serious conversation about how teacher quality is distributed across schools."
A recent article published by El Diario discusses the findings of StudentsFirstNY's recently released "Unsatisfactory" report. The report finds that school districts with high percentages of minority students have the highest number of ineffective teachers:
Of 1,509 schools, a total of 972 have a high percentage of students of color and Hispanics. 4.13% of teachers who teach in those precincts have an unsatisfactory rating.
El Diario reported that the study found that the following types of schools tend to have a higher number of unsatisfactory teachers:
Schools with high percentages of students of color
Elementary schools with low academic performance
Middle schools with underperforming students
High schools with low college readiness levels
According to a new report released by StudentsFirstNY, teachers with poor performance ratings are unevenly distributed throughout New York City schools. The study shows that schools considered high-poverty have a larger percentage of unsatisfactory rated teachers. The New York Post shared some of the specific findings presented in the report:
One the high end, two schools – PS 4 in The Bronx and Mathematics, Science Research and Technology Magnet HS in Queens – had one-third of their teachers hit with a so-called U-rating that year.
The top 10 percent of schools -- 77 of the 1,509 schools included in the study -- had nearly 19 percent of their teachers rated unsatisfactory.
In the report, StudentsFirstNY also presents recommendations for New York City schools including financial incentives for retaining effective teachers and an agreement between the City and the teachers' union on a new teacher evaluation system.
A new report released by StudentsFirstNY found that schools in high-poverty areas have a higher number of “Unsatisfactory” rated teachers than in schools in areas of lower poverty. More specifically, the report found that in schools with few poor students, only 1.14 percent of the teachers received low ratings. In contrast, in schools where poor students make up more than 85 percent of the student population, 3.9 percent of teachers are considered low-rated.
According to GothamSchools, the findings of the report support StudentsFirstNY’s position that New York City officials and the teachers’ union must come to an agreement on a plan new teacher evaluations.
StudentsFirstNY’s Executive Director, Micah Lasher, and others presented the findings of the report outside of City Hall this morning:
This report highlights the utter failure of New York City schools to provide quality teachers to those students who need them most,” said Executive Director Micah Lasher, who left the Bloomberg administration last year to start StudentsFirstNY. “A successful deal to implement a meaningful teacher evaluation system is a necessary first step toward righting that wrong.”
The January 17 deadline for New York City to reach an agreement on a teacher evaluation plan is just weeks away, and negotiations between City and teachers’ union officials are breaking down. New York City is one of just a few districts in the state that have not submitted a teacher evaluation plan for review.
According to the New York Times, formal talks have “disintegrated” in the last month:
Before the new year, the city filed a complaint with the state labor board accusing the union, the United Federation of Teachers, of trying to “extort” the city. And on Friday, the union began a television advertisement campaign charging that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was “going after teachers again.”
As negotiations dissolve, pressure for both sides to come to an agreement increases. New York City public schools stand to lose $300 million in state aid if they are unable to reach an agreement by the January 17 deadline.
Governor Cuomo is putting pressure on City officials and the teachers’ union to reach a deal on a plan for teacher evaluations by the January 17 deadline. New York City’s schools stand to lose $250 million in state funding if an agreement is not reached. The New York Daily News reports that Cuomo was “tough” in his first comments on the issue in the new year:
“It’s a pox on all your houses if you don’t come to an agreement,” the governor said, addressing city and union officials who have until Jan. 17 to reach a deal on new teacher evaluations or risk losing $250 million in state aid.
“A deadline is a deadline,” he said. “And the overwhelming majority of school districts will make the deadline.”
The teachers’ union and New York City’s Department of Education have yet to reach an agreement on a teacher evaluation deal, and Governor Cuomo has stated that he does not plan to extend the January 17 deadline. According to SchoolBook, negotiations between the teachers’ union and City officials dissolved toward the end of December and have not yet resumed. There are 9 districts across the state, including New York City, who have not yet submitted teacher evaluation plans.
The Department of Education plans to continue trying to reach an agreement with the teachers’ union, but Cuomo has made it clear that the deadline will not be extended:
“It was not a good faith effort by that date, it was accomplishment by that date. It was performance by that date,” Cuo0mo said, sternly. “That’s what the law said. That was the directive from very early on. We didn’t say ‘everybody should try.’ You know, government always tries. The problem with government is sometimes it doesn’t perform. So we didn’t say let’s everybody should try. They’d been trying for years and failing for years.
“This was a hard deadline. If you get it done, great, you get 4 percent additional funding. If you don’t get it done, that’s your business but then you don’t get the 4 percent additional funding.”
Five years ago, teacher Susan Keyock moved from Colorado to New York City to continue her teaching career and was surprised by the lack of support provided to teachers in the City's public schools. Over the last five years, Keyock has observed the disparities among teacher quality in New York City classrooms:
After working as a public school teacher for five years in Colorado, I moved to New York City because of its reputation for being on the cutting edge of innovation in all things. Little did I know that when it came to teacher preparation and support, I’d be taking a big step backward... Our schools haven't caught up to forward-looking states like Colorado.
Keyock calls on the City and teachers' union officials to come to an agreement on a more robust teacher evaluation system that will provide educators with meaningful feedback on their performance:
Across the country — from Los Angeles to Newark to Washington — many districts have successfully negotiated new evaluation measures.
There is simply no reason New York cannot do the same for its teachers. There is simply no reason that a city that has been at the leading edge on so many other things can’t lead on this.
City officials and the city’s teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, need to get beyond their eternal grudge match and start thinking about how they can help teachers enhance their profession — which, in turn, can only increase student performance. They can start by providing us with a stronger means to evaluate our work.