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If Deal Goes Through, N.Y. Parents Will See Job Evaluation Of Teachers For First Time

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters - New Rochelle, NY - May 10, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York parents will see for the first time the job evaluations of the teachers who instruct their children under a deal expected soon.

Parents won’t get a detailed performance review, but rather broad categories such as “highly effective” and “ineffective.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Senate’s Republican majority and the Assembly’s Democratic majority were expected to agree on a bill in closed-door negotiations with staff by a deadline on Monday night, with the Legislature voting by the end of this year’s regular session on Thursday.

The deal isn’t expected to make evaluations publicly available.

That’s a win for the powerful teachers’ unions, which have fought to protect teachers’ privacy. Even Cuomo, who had pushed for the creation of teacher evaluations, argues that such reports aren’t released for any other group of public employees.

“Teacher evaluations can be viewed as the equivalent of a Carfax report, empowering parents to attempt to avoid the `lemons’,” said B. Jason Brooks of the Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability, a non-profit conservative advocacy group.

“No family should be expected to keep their children in a class for an entire year led by a bad teacher who has received a poor evaluation,” Brooks said. “And no parent should face the prospect of having their child moving up to a class where a teacher has received a poor evaluation.”

The union said that the public release of evaluations would have a “chilling effect” on honest, constructive reviews.

“The whole purpose of New York’s new teacher-evaluation law is to improve teacher effectiveness and enhance student learning,” said Carl Korn of the New York United Teachers union. “Releasing teachers’ ratings publicly would undermine the new law.”

But keeping the evaluations from the public also keeps parents, education advocates, lawmakers and the news media from a potentially powerful tool to rate schools and test the accuracy of the reports shown to parents.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that the information will be aimed at parents, not the broader public.

“I believe that it will just be for parents,” Silver said on Friday. “When people move into a neighborhood, you can’t go up to a police department and say, `I want to see the evaluations of all the police officers in this precinct, or all the fire protective people, or all the sanitation workers.’ Yet we treat education specially.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that full public disclosure would best improve schools.

“We should have all of the data out there,” Bloomberg said.

If this bill passes, will it automatically lead to a stronger education system in New York? Offer your thoughts and comments in the section below…

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