Queens parents may not see teacher evaluations next year

Queens parents may not see teacher evaluations next year
Photo courtesy Andrew Cuomo
By Rich Bockmann

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last week requiring the city Department of Education to make teacher performance reviews available to parents, but with the city and its teachers union deadlocked on the nuts and bolts of their evaluation system, it was not clear when the information would be accessible.

The governor’s bill requires the DOE to disclose to parents the ratings of their child’s principal and current teacher in grades K-12, both on a scale from 0 to 100 and as either highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective.

The information will also be posted on the DOE’s website, but would not include information identifying specific teachers or principals.

“This law strikes the right balance between a teacher’s right to privacy and the parents’ and public’s right to know,” the governor said.

Cuomo laid out the framework for the evaluation system earlier this year, leaving individual districts to hammer out the final details with their teachers unions. The city and the United Federation of Teachers, however, are at loggerheads on the deal — a situation that was not helped when the city released the Teacher Data Reports to media outlets earlier this year.

The DOE said if an agreement on the system is not reached by January, teacher evaluation data will not be available until after the 2014-15 school year.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew praised the bill for “ensuring that parents can have information about their children’s teachers, while helping to prevent the kind of vilification of teachers that resulted from Mayor Bloomberg’s insistence on releasing the misleading and inaccurate Teacher Data Reports last year.”

Bloomberg said he was disappointed by the bill because it fell short of providing full disclosure.

“However, I do appreciate the governor’s insistence that the state Education Department post school data so that parents can analyze how districts perform, and that teacher, principal and school information will be made widely available online,” he wrote in a statement.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4574.