New Report Finds Link Between Poor Schools and Low-Rated Teachers

Wall Street Journal // January 11, 2013

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."

Read the report “Unsatisfactory: The Distribution of Teacher Quality in New York City” (PDF).

View an interactive map of NYC schools with the highest percentages of “Unsatisfactory” teachers.

Read the full article.