Putting Education Reform To The Test

Report: Miami-Dade’s Poorest Schools Have District’s Least Experienced Teachers

Pablo Ortiz with the Miami-Dade education transformation office says district schools are improving and they are working to make sure the least-experienced teachers aren't concentrated in the district's high-poverty schools.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Pablo Ortiz with the Miami-Dade education transformation office says district schools are improving and they are working to make sure the least-experienced teachers aren't concentrated in the district's high-poverty schools.

Students in some of Miami-Dade’s lowest-income schools are more likely to have teachers who are new to the profession, who miss more school time and who receive lower evaluation scores, according to a new analysis by the National Council for Teacher Quality.

Washington, D.C.-based NCTQ looked at student and school data by school board district at the request of the Urban League of Miami. The group focused on district 1, an area along the county’s northern border which includes Miami Gardens and Opa-locka, and district 2, an area north of downtown including Little Haiti and Liberty City.

Those school board districts have the highest percentage of black students and the highest poverty, as measured by percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch, in the school district.

Of the 60 schools which received a D or F on the state’s grading system for public schools, 70 percent were located in school board district 1 or 2. And poor students were less likely to pass the state’s standardized tests.

At a town hall meeting at the Urban League of Miami, NCTQ researcher Nancy Waymack said districts across the country struggle to place top teachers in high poverty schools.

“This is not a secret,” she said, “but, when we see data like this it’s time to redouble our efforts.”

Waymack said the school district needs to focus on recruiting strong teams to move to these schools and praising teachers so they’ll stay.

Miami-Dade school leaders said they don’t dispute the findings, but argue the district has been addressing the problem for several years. They also point to data showing Miami-Dade black students have a higher graduation rate than other big city districts, and high schools in the districts have improved their grades on the state report card for public schools.

“We do agree,” said Pablo Ortiz with the district’s education transformation office. “There is unequal access and unequal results. But what should be asked is…what is it that Miami-Dade is doing that these other districts should replicate.”

Ortiz said the district is already doing some of NCTQ’s recommendations — they’ve improved the retention rate of Teach For America recruits, for instance — and will consider others.

The report was commissioned by the Urban League of Miami.


  • Marblemania

    ANd so the answer is to recruit TFAS? Express lane educators? People with little training and little desrie to stay after their two year commitment? What do these people drink to swallow and spit out this ridiculous answer to a problem that needs MORE EXPERIENCED teachers who are dedicated to the profession for the long haul? Can someone ask themselves why we don’t see these fly by night teachers in suburban schools? Because parents would have an aneurism if their kids’ teachers weren’t as educated as the parents themselves. You just have to laugh…the state determines that the poor schools have low scores and least experienced teachers and the answer is to put in even more less experienced scabs. (they don’t deserve the title of teacher)

    • Tom James

      Marblemania: Teach For Awhile’s aren’t better just CHEAPER. Supers and school board members love them cuz they will work for the minimum, won’t join the union, will take assignments in the worst schools, won’t complain or utter a peep, are on annual contract and can be fired at will. They are basically SCABS undermining professional teachers while Wendy Kopp and TFA bigwigs rake in millions from anti teacher anti union education deformers hell bent on destroying public schools. It’s a pretty twisted situation. Blame people like Obama, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Michael Blomberg, It’s all about getting rid of unions so teachers can be paid minimum wage.

      • Kevin

        You too are both quite stupid. I was a TFA teacher in miami dade and I was union, and so we’re quite a few of us. TFA is not inherently anti-union. Especially with the quality of administrators at these schools who are sooo piss poor that they lead TFA teachers to joining the union out of necessity. Also, there are tons of vacancies at ETO schools like these right now (my former school still needs 13 teachers one month into the school year! So where are all these “MORE EXPERIENCED” teachers, Marble, that you insist are so plentiful out there? They exist, but they’ll be damned if they will go to an ETO school if they can avoid it. It was the ETO itself that made me dislike teaching in urban schools, with their crazy insistence and irrationality towards data, common boards, and rigid frameworks which take the joy out of teaching. Less ETO oversight, more $$$ for teachers, and they will stay.

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