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Press Release: First Ever Research Study of NYC's Teacher Rating Data: Students of Color and High-Needs Students Most Likely to be Taught by Teachers Rated 'Unsatisfactory'

A new report finds those students in NYC who most depend on highly effective teachers are instead the students most likely to be taught by teachers rated “Unsatisfactory."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contact: 
Chandra M. Hayslett, Communications Director
chayslett@studentsfirstny.org 
212-257-4350

First-Ever Research Study of NYC’s Teacher Rating Data: Students of Color and High-Needs Students Most Likely to be Taught by Teachers Rated ‘Unsatisfactory’

StudentsFirstNY Calls for New Teacher Evaluation System to Ensure Equal Distribution of Teacher Talent

(New York, NY) Jan. 10, 2013 – Those students in New York City who most depend on highly effective teachers are instead the students most likely to be taught by teachers rated “Unsatisfactory,” according to an eye-opening study of the City’s teacher rating data, published today by StudentsFirstNY, an education advocacy organization with more than 150,000 members across New York State.

The analysis reveals that schools with the highest rates of poverty and the lowest rates of student achievement, as well as those with high concentrations of students of color, are the most likely to have teachers with unsatisfactory ratings. Conversely, wealthier, higher-achieving schools have fewer “U-rated” teachers. The findings were consistent among elementary, middle and high schools.

Specifically, the report found:

  • Students in high-poverty schools were more than three times as likely to be taught by a U-rated teacher as students in low-poverty schools.

  • Students in schools with high percentages of students of color were almost four times as likely to be taught by a U-rated teacher as students in schools with low percentages of students of color.

  • Students in elementary schools with low student proficiency rates were more than three times as likely to be taught by a U-rated teacher as students in schools with high proficiency rates.

  • Students in middle schools with low student proficiency rates were more than four times as likely to be taught by a U-rated teacher as students in schools with high proficiency rates.

  • Students in high schools with low college readiness rates were more than twice as likely to be taught by a U-rated teacher as students in schools with high-college readiness rates.

“An ineffective teacher in any classroom is a failure of the system at the expense of students,” said StudentFirstNY Executive Director Micah Lasher. “A concentration of ineffective teachers serving specific student populations is an injustice.”

Other education leaders called for action in response to the report's findings.

Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, said "It shocks the conscience that we continue to look the other way while we permit our schools to pair our most ineffective teachers with the children most in need of great classroom instruction. You almost couldn't create a more offensive system."

And NYCAN Executive Director Christina Grant said, “When we disproportionately place our lowest-performing teachers in front of our neediest students, we are closing the escape hatch that great schools have long provided from poverty and the status quo. We have failed as a community when we have broken the basic promise we made to our kids: that they will have an equal opportunity at success. Instead, we are stacking the deck against them. That is unacceptable. The time to act is now."

And Assemblymember Karim Camara, Chairman of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, said “One of the greatest determining factors in ensuring that a child has the high quality education they deserve is the capacity of the teacher in the classroom. Unfortunately some of the most troubled schools, in the most troubled neighborhoods have teachers who are not on the same caliber of skill, experience and education as teachers in low need districts. It is imperative that we develop a system to evaluate and reward teacher capacity. The students are the ones who will most greatly benefit and we will be closer to our mandate that all students receive the high quality education they deserve.”

To help visually represent the inequity found in the report, StudentsFirstNY created an interactive map that plots the schools with the highest percentages of U-rated teachers over neighborhood poverty levels.

StudentsFirstNY made a number of policy recommendations to address the findings of the report, including the implementation of a robust and comprehensive teacher evaluation system in accordance with State law. In February 2012, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State legislature created a statewide framework for such a system, but the City and teachers union have yet to reach an agreement on the details.

New York City is among just a handful of 700 school districts that have not yet submitted a teacher evaluation agreement to the State, a failure that could cost City schools between $250 and $300 million in state funding. A Jan. 17 deadline looms.

“This report highlights the utter failure of New York City schools to provide quality teachers to those students who need them most,” Lasher continued. “A successful deal to implement a meaningful teacher evaluation system is a necessary first step toward righting that wrong. The City and the Union must reach an agreement – and quickly – for the sake of our kids.”

About StudentsFirstNY
Formed in April 2012, StudentsFirstNY with more than 150,000 members, is New York State’s leading voice for students who depend on public education for the skills they need to succeed, but who are too often failed by a system that puts special interests, rather than the interests of children, first.

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