This is a first-grade classroom at Branch Brook Elementary School...

This is a first-grade classroom at Branch Brook Elementary School in Smithtown at the end of the day Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

By Dec. 31, parents in New York will for the first time be able to review their children's teachers' performance and compare them to aggregate ratings for teachers in counties statewide, State Department of Education officials said Thursday.

Teachers are being evaluated on a scale with four levels: highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective, said department spokesman Tom Dunn.

A state-run website open to the public with the performance information about teachers and principals for the 2012-13 school year will be up and running by year's end, he said.

For teachers of English Language Arts and math in grades four through eight, it will represent the first public release of teacher job ratings based in part on their students' performance on state tests.

Results for other teachers in other grades and subjects will also be posted but how those evaluations were conducted was worked out by the school districts and unions.

Classroom observations must make up part of all teacher evaluations.

Parents will have access to the percentages of teachers who fall into each of the four rankings in all counties.

Two years of poor ratings could cost teachers their jobs, Dunn said.

"We will release aggregated data that says, for example, 'of teachers in County A, 12 percent were highly effective, 66 percent were effective, etc.,' " Dunn said.

The data also will be broken down by student enrollment and other criteria.

And parents will be able to compare three categories of schools: elementary, middle and high school.

Next year, the public will be able to review the percentages or numbers of teachers and principals whose ratings rose or fell.

Under privacy law, parents will only have access to evaluations for their children's current teachers.

In order to get the information, parents will have to ask their school districts for evaluation results, Dunn said.

The same privacy policy will be followed for principals at individual schools.

School districts were given until Friday to submit their evaluations or risk losing an increase in state aid.

The state does not plan to release data for the 2011-12 school year at this time, Dunn said.

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