NYC to release teacher performance rankings

Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Photo Credit: Getty Images

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New York City plans the release Friday of names and job performance rankings for more than 12,000 teachers -- an unprecedented action that could potentially spread within months to Long Island and statewide.

The city's rankings cover teachers in grades 4-8 and are based on students' improvement on English and math tests. Teachers are ranked against colleagues in five categories, including the bottom and top 5 percent.

The city's United Federation of Teachers union had fought in court to block release of the rankings, contending that testing data were seriously flawed. But the state Court of Appeals last week upheld a lower-court ruling that teachers' names and test results could be made public.

News media outlets had sought such a release.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended rankings as a key to the city's efforts to reward its best teachers with extra pay, while identifying unsuccessful teachers for additional training and possible removal from their jobs. However, some top Bloomberg aides have voiced misgivings about making names public, noting that test data are 2 years old and, in some cases, inaccurate.

"I don't want our teachers denigrated," city schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a TV interview Wednesday.

The UFT announced it would run newspaper ads Friday showing a complex mathematical formula used in the rankings with the headline: "This is no way to rate a teacher!"

Union president Michael Mulgrew contended that "bad tests, a flawed formula and incorrect data" would mislead tens of thousands of parents.

The state plans to release its own initial teacher job ratings in June. Rankings will be in four categories, ranging from "ineffective" to "highly effective," and by next year could cover 30,000 classroom teachers on the Island and 200,000 statewide.

The state Education Department has not yet announced whether teachers' names will be released.

Jeff Rozran, president of Syosset's teachers union, predicted that high-performing districts would fare relatively well in the new ratings. But he said disclosure of teachers' names could lead to difficulties in scheduling classes, should parents demand that children be placed only with top-rated instructors.

"It may make teachers more reluctant to take difficult students into their classes," added Rozran, a board member of the statewide teacher union.

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