Teaching Profession

Battle Over Evaluations Continues in Buffalo

By Andrew Ujifusa — May 07, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Buffalo, N.Y., school system says it will no longer honor a deal it had made with its teachers’ union not to dismiss educators based on new evaluations—but the union is pledging to fight to keep the deal alive.

In negotiations with the Buffalo Federation of Teachers about new teacher evaluations, called “annual professional performance reviews,” or APPRs, the Buffalo district agreed in a Jan. 15 memorandum of understanding that the reviews from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years would not negatively affect any teacher.

The state education department approved the district’s agreement with its union on the nature of the evaluations the same month—unaware of the district’s decision to hold teachers harmless from evaluation results.

However, the state law governing the reviews requires that the results of the evaluations from those years “be a significant factor for employment decisions including but not limited to, promotion, retention, tenure determination, termination, and supplemental compensation.”

In March, the state department notified the district that its side deal with the Buffalo union, an affiliate of both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, violated state law. Furthermore, the state said, that agreement could endanger millions of dollars in district funding, including an increase in state K-12 aid.

Buffalo Superintendent Pamela Brown has now said, in an April 25 statement, that the side deal with the 3,500-member union is void.

The 600,000-member New York State United Teachers has defended the Buffalo union, citing a memo from the department saying that a teacher with two consecutive “ineffective” ratings on the evaluations “may be ... considered for termination,” but doesn’t have to be dismissed.

In an interview, the Buffalo union’s president, Philip Rumore, said the union was exploring “every possible legal means” to fight the department’s interpretation of the law. He said he’s heard from the state union that hundreds of other New York districts have similar side deals.

“They’re hiding, because they don’t want to go through what we’re going through,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the May 08, 2013 edition of Education Week as Buffalo Battle Rages Over Evaluations


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
How to Leverage Virtual Learning: Preparing Students for the Future
Hear from an expert panel how best to leverage virtual learning in your district to achieve your goals.
Content provided by Class
English-Language Learners Webinar AI and English Learners: What Teachers Need to Know
Explore the role of AI in multilingual education and its potential limitations.
Education Webinar The K-12 Leader: Data and Insights Every Marketer Needs to Know
Which topics are capturing the attention of district and school leaders? Discover how to align your content with the topics your target audience cares about most. 

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Teachers Work 50-Plus Hours a Week—And Other Findings From a New Survey on Teacher Pay
Planning, preparation, and other duties stretch teachers' working hours long past what's in their contracts.
5 min read
Elementary teacher, working at her desk in an empty classroom.
Teaching Profession From Our Research Center How Many Teachers Work in Their Hometown? Here's the Latest Data
New survey data shows that many teachers stay close to home, but do they want to?
1 min read
Illustration of a 3D map with arrows going all over the states.
Teaching Profession In Their Own Words 'I Was Not Done': How Politics Drove This Teacher of the Year Out of the Classroom
Karen Lauritzen was accused of being a pro-LGBTQ+ activist. The consequences derailed her career.
6 min read
Karen Lauritzen stands for a portrait on the Millikin University Campus in Decatur, Ill., on August 30, 2023. Idaho’s Teacher of the Year moved to Illinois for a new job due to right-wing harassment over her support of the LGBTQ+ community and Black Lives Matter.
Karen Lauritzen stands for a portrait on the Millikin University Campus in Decatur, Ill., on August 30, 2023. Laurizen, Idaho’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, moved to Illinois for a new job due to harassment over her support of the LGBTQ+ community and Black Lives Matter.
Neeta R. Satam for Education Week
Teaching Profession Reported Essay Public Schools Rely on Underpaid Female Labor. It’s Not Sustainable
Women now have more career options. Is that why they are leaving the teaching profession?
9 min read
Illustration of contemporary teacher looking at a line-up of mostly female teachers through the history of public education in the United States.
Traci Debarko for Education Week