The Rochester Teacher

Winner of NYSUT journalism awards and the Ted Bleeker award as “Best of the Best”

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Our Union Contract

The newly bargained agreement is good for students and fair to teachers.

Click here to download our contract.

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  1. While we have been able to make some progress in reducing the numbers of teachers rated by APPR as less than effective, nearly 260 of Rochester teachers have  been (be)rated as Developing or Ineffective.  We are strongly urging these colleagues to appeal and are prepared to assist with this process.

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  1. APPR Negotiations 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.

  1. Expanded Learning Time Nearly one-third of our schools are involved in providing expanded learning time for students. Our agreement with the District is that such adjustments for additional time must include a vote by the school's teachers with at least 80% voting in favor — preferably through the already existing School-Level Living Contract process. If a school's plan calls for additional working time for teachers, such additional time must include additional compensation and no teacher can be compelled to participate. Please call the RTA if these required conditions are not adhered to in your school.

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October 19, 2014

Frontier Field

Check-in 8:30 AM

Walk Starts 10:00 AM

Each RTA member who participates in the walk will receive a T-Shirt.  Ask your school team captain or RTA rep for details.

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The Rochester Retired Teacher Association is a Dept. of the RTA, composed of all retired members of RTA. Learn more…

Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools

From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.

Read the book! Join the community discussion!

Click here for Discussion Dates…

Why I hate standardized tests: A teacher’s take on how to save public education

In recent years, I have begun each semester by asking my first-year composition students two questions, one theoretical and the other practical. First, the theoretical question: What is the purpose of testing? Then the practical question: What happens to the information they study for a test after students have taken the test. My students’ answers to both questions typically achieve virtual unanimity. The purpose of testing, they say, is to find out how much students have “learned,” which is to say, how much they “know.” After they take the test, these same students testify, they forget virtually all of the information they “learned” for the test.

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(And Public Discussion)

“Is the Common Core Good for Public Schools?”

Tuesday, September 23, 7:00 p.m. East High School Forum Room


Four Common Core ‘flimflams’

Award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York was once a supporter of the Common Core but came to be a critic after her state began to implement the initiative. (You can read some of her work on the botched implementation  in New York here,  here, here and here.)  Burris was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010,  tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. In this post she looks at what she calls the “Four Flimflams of the Common Core.”

How Common Core’s recommended books fail children of color

Critics of the Common Core  have questioned a number of different aspects of the standards, including how they were written, whether they are developmentally appropriate and whether too much emphasis has been placed on non-fiction at the cost of literature. Here is a look at an issue that has gotten little attention: How the recommended books in the appendix of the standards try to meet the needs of students of color.

Charter parents sue New York State for more money

For years, charter school advocates have touted lower operating costs as one of charters' chief benefits. But operating on fewer dollars has become a huge handicap, says a lawsuit filed yesterday by five families — one from Rochester and four from Buffalo — with children attending charter schools. The suit says that New York's method for funding charter schools violates the state’s constitution.

New York Educators Struggle to Make Sense of Teacher Evaluations

Educators in New York are trying to make sense of the state’s evaluation system. The formula is supposed to consist of observations (60%); state scores (20%); and local assessments (20%). Yet the results don’t line up with common sense or common knowledge. Some principals seem to be giving higher observation scores to teachers they want to protect because they believe they are valuable and don’t want to lose them

Breast Cancer Walk