More than 600 Rochester school teachers have formally appealed their Annual Professional Performance Review, says Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association. The appeals will be looked at by a joint district and union team beginning as early as next week.
Teachers could only appeal their evaluation if they received either an “ineffective” or “needs development” score. And the appeal has to show that there was an alleged “departure from the process,” Urbanski says. Teachers can't appeal just because they don't like or accept the evaluation, he says.
For example, a teacher would have a case if his or her score included teaching English Language Learners, but no interpreter was provided for the student. An evaluation based on scores on tests that students didn’t take is another example.The appeals can be denied, upheld, or the teacher’s score may be altered.
Urbanski says that the high number of appeals is a serious problem, and raises a lot of concerns about the APPR.
While nearly 900 city school teachers received evaluations of ineffective or needs development, Urbanski says, no Webster teachers, for example, received those scores. And other suburban districts had only a few teachers with low evaluations, he says.
“City teachers are so much worse than suburban teachers?” Urbanski says. “I could prove that isn’t true by just swapping our teachers with theirs for one year and we’ll see if we get better results.”
Urbanski says that APPR was intentionally positioned to dismantle urban public schools — possibly to diminish union power — and allow for the growth of charter schools.
“If anything, APPR will make unions stronger,” he says. “There’s never been a time in recent history when they [teachers] need unions more.”