NYC to call parents on teacher evals

A teacher writes on a blackboard. A teacher writes on a blackboard. Photo Credit: iStockPhoto

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New York City schools will call every student's parents to let them know they can request teacher evaluations, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during his weekly radio show Friday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's teacher evaluation bill, which the State Legislature passed on Thursday, allows parents only to obtain information about their child's teachers.

Bloomberg had sought full public disclosure of those evaluations, but Cuomo and other lawmakers said they needed to balance parents' need to know with teachers' right to privacy.

"We are going to call and get on the phone every parent," Bloomberg said. "We are going to tell you, 'You are entitled to this information and if you want it, just say yes or no, ask us right now and we will send it.' "

Cuomo said in a radio interview Friday that it was legal for the city to call parents to let them know about evaluations, but that he didn't endorse the idea.

"I guess the mayor's point is he thinks that the parents won't know enough to call or won't be interested enough and that they need government to tell the parents what they should do," Cuomo said. "That's his point of view and he's entitled to it."

United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said in a statement that parents have always had the ability to find out the ratings of their children's teachers.

"Sometimes even billionaires don't get their way," Mulgrew said. "The mayor's statement is a transparent attempt to divert attention from the fact that his attempts to vilify teachers have been frustrated by the governor and Legislature, including a virtually unanimous Republican delegation in the State Senate."

New York State United Teachers president Richard Iannuzzi said he didn't believe other school districts would use Bloomberg's approach, which he said undermined the purpose of evaluations.

"As far as the mayor's approach spreading outside of New York City, I don't think any of our school boards or superintendents are that asinine," Iannuzzi said.

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