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School board questions teacher, principal and school ratings

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The Buffalo school board debated issues surrounding the state's teacher and principal evaluation system Wednesday night.

The evaluations have been rough and tumble for years, with fights between Albany and staff unions and uncertainty about the end product of all of the paperwork. State Education Department officials say around 100 teachers are rated more highly than they should be.

Assistant Buffalo Schools Superintendent Genelle Morris told the board around half the principals and teachers are rated as highly effective, 21% are rated effective, 5% developing and 2% ineffective. Meanwhile, 24% have not been rated.

Buffalo School Board Member Carl Paladino said the scores make no sense when you consider all of the failing schools.

"If I were in Albany, I was sitting here looking at statistics that showed 2% ineffective, 5% developing and then 69% performing. I would seriously question the integrity of those numbers because we have 46 out of 57 schools failing," notes Paladino.

Board Member Theresa Harris-Tigg also wondered how the ratings can find Buffalo has both good teachers yet bad schools.

On a related note, a bill was delivered to Governor Cuomo this week which would delay penalties for teachers and principals who are rated as "developing" or "ineffective."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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