The public school system in Cleveland, Ohio leads the nation in teacher absences.
A report from the National Council on Teacher Quality shows that public school teachers in Cleveland manage to miss an average of 15.6 school days each year, reports local NBC affiliate WKYC.
Just over a third of Cleveland teachers fail to show up for their taxpayer-funded jobs 18 days — or more — each school year.
A typical student who attends public school in the city from kindergarten through 12th grade will suffer the second-rate instruction of a substitute teacher for a number of days that adds up to a full year.
Despite their chronic failure to work, teachers in the Cleveland Municipal School District receive a handsome median salary of $76,652 annually, according to The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s main newspaper.
“If the teachers don’t come to school, how do you expect the students to come?” parent Twyonia Cooper told WKYC. “They see that you’re not there so why should I be coming to school.”
Cleveland public schools say they aren’t happy about the highly dubious honor of leading the nation in teacher absences.
“We don’t want to be No. 1 in that area,” chief academic officer Michelle Pierre-Farid told WKYC. “We want to be No. 1 for student achievement.”
Pierre-Farid added that administrators have “looked at different ways” to try to drag the city’s teachers to school on something approaching a daily basis. Among those ways is an incentive program.
“You’re not going to be a great teacher if you don’t come to work,” she observed.
Nevertheless, the school district coughs up over $9 million each year to pay substitute teachers — in addition to the generous salaries and benefits packages full-time teachers receive.
David Quolke, the president of the Cleveland Teachers Union (and the vice president of the American Federation of Teachers), responded to the National Council on Teacher Quality study by arguing that it isn’t true.
“It was a pretty poor and blatant attempt to continue the anti-teacher rhetoric,” Quolke told the NBC affiliate. He suggested that Cleveland would be totally average for teachers failing to teach students if the study added professional development days.
Pierre-Farid, the school district executive, suggested that the study’s numbers for teacher absences are accurate.
“That is a part of our data and, once again, we are not happy about that data point,” she told WKYC.
Cleveland’s teachers union has been threatening to strike — and miss even more school days at the expense of students — since the end of the most recent school year.
The teachers are mainly upset because they object to teacher evaluations — and having their lavish median salaries of $76,652 subjected to teacher evaluations. They also object to various incentives designed to improve classroom instruction and a policy which would allow the school district to fire taxpayer-funded teachers regardless of their seniority.
The union has rejected a contract endorsed by a federal fact-finder which endorses the pay-related evaluations.
The federally-recommended contract “is not acceptable to me,” Quolke told The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s biggest newspaper, in May.
A study separate from the one conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality shows that 27 percent of Ohio’s public school teachers fail to show up 10 or more days each year for work.
Ohio public schools typically have 180 school days each year. That’s 36 weeks. Thus, 27 percent of the state’s teachers take a day off just over once every 18 school days.
The average teachers in Cleveland fails to show up for work an average of once every 11.5 school days. Obviously, that’s roughly once every two weeks.
The National Council on Teacher Quality Washington, D.C supports better evaluation systems for public advocates teachers. It was founded by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.