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So far, the fight over how no-show students factor into teacher evaluations has remained in Buffalo.

That will change.

When Rochester teachers first struck a deal on teacher evaluations, they had a clause requiring only students with a minimum 80 percent attendance be counted.

The state wouldn’t okay the evaluation plan unless the clause was removed.  The union agreed to substitute the state’s language, which said the ratio of test scores used to evaluate teachers would be proportionate to students’ presence in the classroom.

Sounds reasonable, right?

But the state only allows the ratio to be used on state tests – not local measurements, which count for 20 percent of a teacher’s grade. The possibility still remains a teacher’s score could be dragged down by no-show kids.

There’s only one reason the union agreed to the state’s changes. For this year only, Rochester teachers are “held harmless” by their evaluations. They can’t be disciplined or fired. Their evaluations won’t even go into their personnel files.

Next school year, the evaluations count. Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski said teachers will not agree to any evaluation plan that doesn’t have a student attendance exemption, setting up a showdown like the one we’re seeing in Buffalo.

“I fully agree with Buffalo teachers. I fully support them,” Urbanski said.

Urbanski says he’s writing to the state education commissioner about the attendance issue.

The stakes are incredibly high. Districts that don’t comply with the state could lose millions of dollars in funding.

More Links of the Day:

– CSX wants to tear down the Hojack Swing Bridge this fall, but it still needs a permit from the DEC. The permit process might be the only window preservationists have to save the structure.

– Cue the scary music! Every six minute a child goes to the emergency room who was injured in a stair-related accident. Most of them fell, but some took a tumble in a parent’s arms. One doctor suggests kids learn to “scoot on their bottoms.”

– Have you checked out those new Coke machines? They’re making their way to Rochester.

– Toronto is close to getting a casino.

5 Responses to Rochester Teachers Next

  1. I was of the understanding that the teacher evaluations would be based on improvement. Year over year. If that’s the case, then student absence should be a non-factor.

    Every profession is subject to evaluation. Why should teachers be exempt. There are always subjective factors present during any evaluation. Another fact of life. It’s time for the teachers union to join the rest of us and figure out a way to get better and more efficient.

    • March 13, 2012 at 8:11 am Rachel responds:

      Jeff, how can a student even improve year over year if he’s not there? That’s the issue.

      • Rachel, what would be a fair way to evaluate teachers?

        Like any other profession, there are good ones and bad ones. How would they be identified?

  2. March 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm Lynn E responds:

    Again the argument even a false one. Teacher evaluations based on students’ test scores are not valid and misuse of testing. One side has money and power, it is the side that is being unreasonable and don’t have to suffer with the consequences. They also are the party to use the news media to press their side of the case no matter how valid their case is. The other side suffers with the consequences and will get money withheld if they don’t comply with unreasonable demands. Truly the idea is the destruction of public education and eventual privatization of the system. Americans will also suffer as constitutional protections such as equal protection are denied in private schooling. Teachers will soon be poorly educated low wage workers with no worker protection. Online it can be passed to off seas workers.

  3. Have you checked out those new Coke machines?

    Prefer the ones that vend Coke Classic, thx.


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