Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore says there is one big flaw in the study. "The study counts professional development days as an absence," says Rumore. "If you were told by the district you have to go to an in-service or professional development, they counted that as an absence, and that amounted to 20 percent of the days lost." Rumore says Buffalo is just a couple of days above average when it comes to absences.
Rumore says that's especially impressive considering the vulnerability to illnesses teachers face during cold weather months in Buffalo, and he compares that to absentees among teachers in southern cities. "When you look at districts like New Orleans and Jacksonville the teachers do a remarkable job," adds Rumore.
He notes there are no studies on whether teacher absenteeism impacts student performance, but he says teachers work hard when they must be absent to get students caught up.