Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Analysis on Ineffective Teachers in High v. Low Poverty School Districts

Students In High Poverty Districts More Than Twice as Likely to be Taught by Non-Effective Teachers

New York, NY – StudentsFirstNY today issued a brief analysis comparing the difference in teacher effectiveness between New York City’s high poverty and low poverty districts following the State Education Department’s recent release of teacher
evaluation data.

The analysis shows that students in New York City’s highest poverty districts are more than twice as likely to be taught by teachers who aren’t effective than students in New York City’s wealthiest districts. The average rate of ineffective or developing teachers is 11.6 percent at the city’s highest poverty districts, compared to only 5.2 percent at the city’s lowest
poverty districts.

StudentsFirstNY Director of Organizing Tenicka Boyd said: “This analysis clearly shows that the current education system in New York is failing our most vulnerable children. When a poor child is twice as likely to be taught by teacher who isn’t effective, bold action is needed to reform the system. Governor Cuomo is fighting to make sure that these children have the same opportunities as kids in wealthier districts."

Public school parent Niferteriah Jones said: “Out here in Bed-Stuy our kids are already faced with so many challenges. Many parents like me rely on our school system to steer our kids towards successful futures, but when 20 percent of our teachers aren’t effective, their chance at achieving success becomes even more at risk. I stand with Governor Cuomo because he is standing up for kids like mine."

Teachers in 5 Highest Poverty Districts:
District 9 -- 13% Ineffective or Developing
District 32 -- 8% Ineffective or Developing
District 12 -- 11% Ineffective or Developing
District 7 -- 14% Ineffective or Developing
District 4 -- 12% Ineffective or Developing
Average: 11.6% Ineffective or Developing

Teachers in 5 Lowest Poverty Districts:
District 3 -- 10% Ineffective or Developing
District 31 -- 3% Ineffective or Developing
District 26 -- 3% Ineffective or Developing
District 2 -- 5% Ineffective or Developing
District 15 -- 5% Ineffective or Developing
Average: 5.2% Ineffective or Developing

Background on the Inequitable Distribution of Teachers:

StudentsFirstNY previously released a report highlighting the inequitable distribution of teacher quality at the school level. The report’s main findings, which can be found in full here, include:
  • POVERTY: 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.
  • RACE: Students in schools with high percentages of black and Hispanic students were almost four times as likely to be taught by a U-rated teacher as students in schools with far fewer students of color.
Furthermore, previous research from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that grossly ineffective teachers – roughly 5 to 10 percent – create “irreparable harm” for students. Poor teachers lower students’ odds of graduating and getting into a good college, and raise the odds that students will become pregnant, and, over a lifetime, earn less money and save less for retirement.
To address the issue of the inequitable distribution of effective teachers, President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan last July launched the "Excellent Educators for All" initiative that asks states to submit plans by June 2015 that would ensure effective teachers are equally distributed across schools.

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