Teacher report cards show performance discrepancies, but why?


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The New York State Department of Education has released the final versions of its professional evaluations for teachers and principals throughout the state for the 2012-2013 school year. And for the first time, parents can contact their school district and find out how their child’s teacher was evaluated. 

Some parents and school officials are going to be happy with the reports. If your child attends school in Brighton, Pittsford, Fairport, Webster, or Penfield, there’s a good chance that his or her teacher received an evaluation of “effective” or “highly effective.”

But if you’re a parent of a city student, you might be wondering if your child’s teacher is even suited for the profession. About 58 percent of the district’s 2,368 educators received an evaluation of “effective,” but about 40 percent received evaluations of “developing” or “ineffective.”

The city evaluations are almost the reverse of their colleagues in suburban schools. A similar pattern shows up in the Syracuse area.

According to state law, every teacher and principal in the state’s public school system must receive an evaluation. And those who receive ratings of developing and ineffective over a two-year period can be terminated when the evaluation system is fully implemented.

It’s important that we understand why there are such discrepancies between teacher performances in pricier communities and poor ones. Do teachers in Rochester’s schools need to brush up on their skills? Are they pursuing the right professional development courses?

Are suburban districts snapping up the best and brightest teachers? Or do suburban students have higher attendance rates and lower suspension rates?

We don’t seem to know; and worse, we don’t seem to care.


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