Release Of NYC Public School Teacher Ratings Draws Ire

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city education department released the ratings on thousands of public school teachers on Friday after a bitter legal battle.

The Teacher Data Reports grade teachers based on how much progress their students have made on standardized tests.  But angry instructors say the numbers do not tell the entire story and are not an accurate representation of their effectiveness.

The data covers 18,000 math and English teachers from fourth through eighth grades over a three-year period from 2007 to 2010. The reports are based on how well a teachers’ students score on state tests, with a complicated “added value” formula.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

The United Federation of Teachers had been waging a legal battle to keep the names confidential.  However, the data was unsealed after a freedom of information court battle that lasted a year and a half.

Teachers argue the numbers are not a true representation of the classroom. They argue any good teacher wants to be evaluated, but not with what they believe is fuzzy math and shoddy data.

On his weekly radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the topic.

“The bottom line here is we have data, you want to have data, you need the data and the courts said it’s owned by the public and you have to give it to them,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor added that the city wants every teacher to succeed.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

“They have to produce and educate our kids, if they’re not, you don’t want to get rid of them you want to help them get the training they need so that they can do the job,” Bloomberg said. “If they can’t, then there’s no question what you have to do. The school system should be run for our kids and you cannot leave kids in front of a teacher that is not doing the job.”

Brooklyn teacher Marie Kallo is not happy, even though her ranking is well above average.

“Even though I received a pretty good rating, it makes me question the validity of it because the number of students weren’t represented accurately,” she told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

Kallo says her total student count was off by about a hundred kids.

The teachers union launched a newspaper ad campaign on Friday titled “This Is No Way to Rate a Teacher” blasting the ratings formula. The union argues the formula is inaccurate and based on tests that were discredited after the education department said the exams had become too easy to pass.

They call the ratings flawed and misleading.

“The mayor’s education legacy is in shambles, maybe they’re trying to say, ‘Oh, let’s just try to do the teacher bashing routine so nobody realizes what we’ve done to the school,'” union president Michael Mulgrew said, blasting the Bloomberg administration.

“I have not met anyone that thinks this was a great idea,” said NYU economist Sean Corcoran, who analyzed the complicated test score-based rating system for the education department and says parents should know the margin for error can be something like 60 percent.

“They should take it with a huge grain of salt. This is just one piece of information that’s not a very informative piece of information without a lot of other contexts,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman on Friday.

“For the vast majority of teachers, we don’t learn much more from these other than that they’re no different than the average teacher,” Corcoran added.

Jose Vilson, who teaches 8th grade math in Washington Heights, say parents don’t need numbers.

“Think about whether their child actually likes the teacher,” he said. “More often [than] not teachers have shown that students are a better measure.”

Vilson has no doubt some of his colleagues will be unfairly judged.

“I think there will be less and less people actually wanting to become teachers,” he said.

Schools chancellor Dennis Walcott calls it irresponsible for anyone to use these numbers to judge individual teachers.

Charter school and special education teachers were not included. Those findings will be released next week.

Share your thoughts on the release of the teacher rankings below…

  • omar

    Hi can any one help me get the teacher data reports! its impossible to find…..helppppppppppppp . i saw it when it came out on cbs web site but have not been able to it again and been getting a run around from 311 , nyc, helpppp

  • Robyn

    So we keep saying teachers need to work harder, teachers need to do better, teachers need to improve. At what point does it become the responsibility of the students to learn what it is the teachers are teaching? This needs to be a joint effort by the school as a whole, parental support and thought, effort, and work by the STUDENTS! At some point those test grades have to be reflective of the teachers skill and the students preformance- not just the teachers!

  • Eileen

    These ratings are severely flawed. I was shocked when I saw the name of a teacher that had scored very low. She is now, and has always been, an excellent teacher.


    I am all for Mayor Bloomberg……I agree with all that he has done with DOE>>..

    The DOE should be completely overhaul, restructured, for all the kids not to serve the teachers…….Shame on the DOE>>>..they better get their act together if they don’t want the mayor intervening…..

    • Robert

      are u dumb parents dont know how to read these

  • Kaycee

    That eighth grade teacher should know that he should have said, “I think there will be fewer and fewer people actually wanting to become teachers.” Fortunately he teaches math and not English grammar. And while a teacher’s favorable rating by his or her students might be a factor in determining that teacher’s abilities and effectiveness it certainly cannot be a sole or decisive factor. See Bill Gates Op=Ed in The New York Times yesterday for some well thought out criticism of the publication of teacher’s names with his ideas for a better approach.

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