Everybody likes schoolteachers -- or at least, everyone should -- but New York's teachers aren't doing themselves any favors by lobbying lawmakers to keep teacher evaluations secret. The teachers are worried that evaluations arising from a new system adopted earlier this year will damage teacher morale by becoming public. One proposal, supported by the New York State United Teachers union, would make the evaluations available only if parents filed a request under the state's Freedom of Information Law.
But that would be a burden for parents, who have every interest in seeing these evaluations. After all, their children's future is at stake. How many parents know how to make a freedom of information request, or have the time to do so? Parents should be forgiven for assuming that the only purpose of the proposal is to make the evaluations hard to get. The real danger is that parents will conclude the teachers have something to hide.