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The state finally released 2012-2013 teacher evaluation data for individual districts and schools. We already knew by surveying districts that urban teachers fared much worse, but now we have proof.

In the Rochester City School District, only 2 percent of teachers were rated “highly effective,” while 40 percent were rated “ineffective” or developing.” Teachers found in need of improvement are monitored closely and could be subject to termination.


RCSD Teacher Evaluation Results

RCSD Teacher Evaluation Results


Meanwhile, in Pittsford, 62 percent of teachers were rated “highly effective.” Only 3 percent were rated “ineffective” or “developing.”


Teacher Evaluation Results for Pittsford

Pittsford Teacher Evaluation Results


What’s going on here? Either you believe Pittsford has way better teachers than Rochester or the methodology is flawed. What’s the biggest difference between Pittsford and Rochester? Wealth.

The data shows the poorer the school, the fewer the “highly effective” teachers. At Rochester’s School #23 in the Park Ave. neighborhood, 27 percent of teachers are “highly effective.” At School #22 off Joseph Ave., no teachers were rated “highly effective.”

The Syracuse and Rochester teachers unions are suing the state over the teacher evaluation methodology, which they say harms teachers in poor schools. Test scores account for 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. (See this story about a nationally-certified teacher, mentor and college instructor who was rated “developing.”)

As you consider these numbers, remember the enormous amount of time and money districts spending to evaluate teachers under this system.

Click here to look up teacher evaluation data. Go to “districts” or “schools.” Make your selection and click on 2012-13 to see the data.


Links of the Day:


– There’s growing support in Buffalo to return to neighborhood schools.

– A Central New York congressional candidate had his gun stolen while he was a prosecutor. That gun was later used during a deadly robbery.

If you live in Rochester or Buffalo, consider taking the train to the New York State Fair.

– Traffic is down, but wait times are up at Western New York border crossings to Canada.

– Heroin overdoses have spiked in New York City, with 420 people killed last year.

– University news departments are not held to same standards as traditional news outlets.

– Jon Stewart’s take on Ferguson, Fox News and white privilege is brilliant.

Chicken wing-flavored donut anyone?

20 Responses to What Does Data Tell Us?

  1. August 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    does anyone really believe that only 2% of RCSD teachers are highly effective? this sounds like a trick to get rid of older higher paid teachers and replace them with younger cheaper teachers and lower expectations at contract time. This is what running government more like a business looks like. the guys a the top screw everybody and than get big bonuses’.

    • August 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm Lee Drake responds:

      While you can question who is at fault the numbers don’t lie. If city school kids were as well educated as suburban school kids they would score higher on the evaluations. They are not. Thus the city school system is less effective than the suburban school system (for whatever reason) at educating them. Could be their poverty/wealth circumstance, could be the effectivity of the teachers, could be the school environment. But I will tell you one thing – it’s not a plot to make city schools look worse than they are. They need no help at all to show how poorly they are performing.

  2. Kids from Pittsford come from stable homes, done deal !

  3. August 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm Sarah J responds:

    This is an organized, very well financed effort to make urban districts look far worse than are, which will enable Bill Gates and Pearson Inc. and for profit charters to take over and make millions and millions of dollars. It is absurd to think, and statistically impossible, that 97% of Pittsford teachers are in the top two categories with only 3% in the bottom two. This is NOT about improving educational outcomes in public schools it is about harnessing tax dollars for corporate profit.

    • You say charter schools are making millions of dollars.
      A charter school in Rochester receives the same (if not less) per student than public schools in Rochester.
      If they are making millions of dollars, then why isn’t the RCSD?

  4. August 28, 2014 at 9:57 pm Larry Kilbury responds:

    I like and respect Rachel Barnhart very much. This post from Jon Stewart is ridiculous and exposes the goofy liberal bent of reporters.

  5. Per above: “What’s the biggest difference between Pittsford and Rochester? Wealth.”

    Perhaps the difference that matters is: Children in single parent homes; or parents under age 20; or children raised by someone other than a parent; or children who aren’t truant.

    Rachel, many successful people started out poor. Many well educated people came from families where the parents couldn’t read or write… but the parents made sure their children would be able to.

    Too often it’s easier to blame someone or something than to take responsibility.

    • August 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm T.C. Ortiz responds:

      Yes. The statement, “What’s the biggest difference between Pittsford and Rochester? Wealth” is not a “data-based” statement.

      How can we say the difference in wealth is more important than the difference in family structure? Or the difference in exposure to crime and violence?


      District A is filled with rich families that show up at schools and hold administrations, teachers and their own children accountable for a high-quality education.

      District B is filled with poverty level families that show up at schools and hold administrations, teachers and their own children accountable for a high-quality education.

      Is it intuitive to assume that there would an enormous (e.g. 62% to 2%) disparity in teacher (and therefore student) performance in the two districts?

      If not then it is not intuitive to say the biggest difference is wealth.

    • August 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm T.C. Ortiz responds:

      What does this data (from the U.S Census Bureau) tell us?:

      2012 total spending per pupil:

      Rochester City School District – $18,762
      Pittsford Central School District – $16,931

      • August 29, 2014 at 2:19 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

        You can’t straight divide for many reasons. Charter schools and special ed costs are huge.

        • Charter schools are NOT a huge cost. They are allocated no more than the average cost per student than other schools (and often receive less).

          Also, Pittsford has students receiving Special Ed as well and it is in the budget.

          • August 29, 2014 at 3:59 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

            The RCSD cuts charter schools a check. That money is included in the RVSD overall budget. That’s why you cannot straight divide.

        • August 30, 2014 at 12:44 am T.C. Ortiz responds:

          How huge? What percentage of per pupil spending is not going to pupils? 10 percent? 15? 20?

  6. Tom: I think Rachel is making the same point that people are blaming the city school teachers for the problems.

    While I agree that single parent homes are part of the problem and that people should take care of their kids to support them to work hard, where does it start? People who come from homes with more wealth are more likely to marry and raise children in 2-parent homes.

    No one is saying it’s impossible to raise out of poverty, but the reality is that a very small percentage do. If we can help more people do so it’s better for all of society. Surely blaming the schools (or the parents for that matter) is insufficient.

  7. August 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm Lee Drake responds:

    You can see the wealth/poverty separation even within the more well-to-do schools. Proof that poverty effects scores is blatant in the difference between the average scores in ELA and Math for kids in wealthy families in say Penfield and those rates as in poverty – with scores differing by as much as 30%. HOWEVER when you compare the same population of higher poverty kids in these suburban schools – they score higher than their counterparts in city schools by another 30-40%. Which shows that it’s not JUST the poverty level but the school environment the kids are within in that poverty setting.

    Interesting. If no one collected these statistics we wouldn’t know these numbers. Never mind what it implies for the effectiveness of teachers – this kind of broad data gathering helps to identify and hopefully address the issues at hand.

  8. August 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm Animule responds:

    Maybe city school district teachers really are worse than the suburbs. Teaching in Brighton or Pittsford is like playing for the New England Patriots, while teaching in the RCSD is like playing for the Bills. Let’s be honest – which school district would a really top notch teacher want to work for?

  9. Pingback: RCSD Teachers Greatly Improve! » The Rochesterian

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