The New York State Education Department's report on Hackett Middle School provides further evidence of systemic problems in the Albany School District (where the median teacher salary is $70,000-plus and the results are abysmal). The report raps the knuckles of administrators, who "should lead an effort to develop and implement a schoolwide grading policy," and "should increase the frequency and rigor of observations/walkthroughs and provide formative feedback to teachers related to the quality of instruction and student engagement."
Then comes this devastating critique: "Teacher absenteeism contributes to high use of substitute teachers, lowered instructional quality, inconsistency of content delivery, and problems in management of student behaviors."
It does seem that if you teach in the highest paid district in the greater Capital Region, and benefit from the generous vacations that come with the job, you might make more of an effort to show up for work.
As I noted in my last post on the district (second link above), the prevalence of charter schools in Albany does drain money from the regular public school system. But the district's continuing failures will only drive more students into charters, and there's no putting that genie back in the bottle. The only solution I can see is more competition rather than less, i.e. a full-fledged voucher program including religious schools, even if that means the effective dismantling of the city's traditional public school system. Sentimental defenders of that system do a disservice to the students in it, especially those living in poverty and broken homes who desperately need the refuge of high functioning schools.