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RCSD high school teacher's APPR rating.

RCSD high school teacher’s APPR rating.


First came the news Rochester City School District teachers fared horribly on state-mandated evaluations. In the first school year they were implemented 2012-2013, very few teachers got the highest rating. The Rochester Teachers Association is suing the state, saying teachers in poor districts are far more likely to get lower ratings compared to teachers in affluent districts.

The state has not released the ratings for the 2013-2014 school year yet. But in a letter to teachers, RTA President Adam Urbanski reveals the RCSD’s breakdown. The ratings dramatically improved in one year. Urbanski has no idea how this happened. He’s also not celebrating:

Each year, we re-negotiate our APPR agreement with the District to do all we can to make it less damaging to our student and more fair to teachers. We are making progress in reducing the number of Rochester teachers (be)rated as Developing or Ineffective (40% in 2012-2013 but 11% in 2013-2014) and increasing the number rated as Effective or Highly Effective (60% in 2012-2013 but 89% in 2013-2014). Just one year ago, only 2% of Rochester teachers were rated as Highly Effective. This year, that number increased to 46%. Why such a huge fluctuation? Maybe it’s because we re-negotiated the agreement; or because teachers set more realistic SLO targets; or because the NYS Education Department adjusted the cut scores in ELA and Math; or because huge fluctuations are typical of invalid and unreliable evaluation schemes; or because it was a miracle. Who knows? In any event, we continue to press for the total abolishments of APPR. Meanwhile, we are negotiating a successor agreement that would further diminish excessive testing of students and wrongful rating of teachers.

Even if you’re a supporter of complicated teacher evaluations, it’s impossible to have faith in this kind of data. Check out this article, noting that in Scarsdale, among the best school districts in the country, not one teacher was rated highly effective.

Please remember that millions of dollars and countless hours have been spent implementing this system.


Links of the Day:


I don’t care for the sensational way this story on a parolee losing his city job was presented. I do think it’s newsworthy, but there’s nothing to suggest anyone dropped the ball here. But this is the same station that made a big deal about a bus stop in front of a sex offender’s house, as if a group of children waiting together are in any danger.

– Charter school principal gets job in RCSD to help teachers. Has anyone looked at the scores of her school? They’re pretty bad.

– A Western New York school superintendent lies, steals and still gets paid $100,000 to leave job.

– “The King” and his gypsy family take on Syracuse, robbing elderly people.

– There could be a huge downside to police body cameras. Police often encounter crime victims and have to go into people’s homes. Privacy issues abound.

– Should we continue to link health coverage to our employment?

– The Secret Service fumbled the response to a gunman shooting at the White House residence in 2011. Sasha Obama and the First Lady’s mother were inside at the time.


– Derek Jeter was always a class act with his words and deeds.


Help Fight Poverty:


I am honorary chair of the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley’s first annual 5k and Walk on October 26. There is no entry fee to walk. Please consider walking with me and/or making a donation to my team, no matter how small. This little-known group helps women in our area – urban. suburban and rural – become economically self-sufficient. With nearly half of single mothers in Monroe County living in poverty, this is such an important cause. Hope to see you and thanks for your support!

3 Responses to RCSD Teachers Greatly Improve!

  1. September 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    Rating the teachers is a negotiating tactic to deny them a cost of living raise which is endorsed by the State because a lot of state aid goes to teachers salaries.

  2. September 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    it would be interesting to find out if She is filling an existing position or was this position created for her, and how many Deputy and Assistant Directors of Teaching and Learning there are. It is astounding how many administrator’s it takes to run one program.

  3. IF RCSD Teachers actually did improve, especially greatly (as noted here), shouldn’t that improvement be reflected in improved graduation rates and test scores?

    And really isn’t test scores and graduation rates the only barometer that really counts?

    We all know what the level is today … set the base at that level and improvement over that base line should be rewarded. And year over year of decline or no improvement against that baseline, should be grounds for a change in teacher.

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