Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

City Teachers Fare Worst in N.J. Ranking

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

City Teachers Fare Worst in N.J. Ranking

Article excerpt

PATERSON -- Teachers in Paterson had the worst rankings among local school districts in New Jersey under the state's new evaluation system, according to an analysis of statistics released by officials in Trenton this week.

The state report showed that 16 percent of the 1,989 Paterson teachers who underwent the assessment were deemed less than effective under the evaluation system, falling within the two lower ratings of the four-level ranking system. No other local district had a higher percentage of teachers ranked less than effective, according to the report.

Camden had 15.7 percent of its teachers rated less than effective, Newark 14.7 percent, and Irvington 13.9 percent, the report showed.

In three of New Jersey's largest cities -- Jersey City, Elizabeth and Trenton -- every teacher evaluated was rated effective or highly effective. Asbury Park, Atlantic City, East Orange, Passaic, Plainfield and Union City all had less than 10 percent of their teachers rated less than effective, the report showed

One regional school district -- the Monmouth-Ocean Special Services Commission, which serves special-needs students -- had more than 80 percent of its 45 teachers rated less than effective, the report showed. The reports released by the state were for the 2013- 14 school year.

"This is something we should be concerned about," said Paterson school board member Errol Kerr. "It's a reflection of where we are in terms of closing the achievement gap. We can't expect our kids to move forward with such a high percentage of ineffective teachers."

Jonathan Hodges, president of the Paterson school board, said he thought Paterson's low ratings resulted from the district's "hyper- aggressive" attempt to set high standards for its teachers. The evaluations were conducted by staff members in the districts and based on administrators' observations as well as student test scores.

"We have put a lot of money and time into the training of our teaching staff," said Hodges. He said some teachers have not measured up, adding that he did not think they were reflective of the entire district. "We have some wonderful teachers on our staff."

The head of the city teachers union, as well as some local education advocates, questioned the legitimacy of the statistics in the state's report.

"I think the numbers you're looking at are inaccurate," said John McEntee Jr., president of the Paterson Education Association. …

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