New York Legislature approved Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bill limiting disclosure of teacher evaluations only to parents, not the public, CBS News reports.
With the bill ratified, only parents would be able to receive evaluations for their child’s current teacher and others within the same grade or subject. This bill would prohibit such information from being publicly accessible.
Parents would be able to see the performance ratings of teachers in the class or section of their child’s next grade, which could help them identify where their children should be placed as they advance a grade. A downfall that comes with the bill’s passage is that there’s no certainty that a school would identify a class of any particular grade the same way year after year.
Cuomo, however, said that the value of his bill is that parents could use the information to put “tremendous pressure” on a principal to reform the education system by improving or eliminating ineffective teachers.
“I believe the bill strikes the right balance between a teacher’s right to privacy and the parents’ and public’s right to know,” Cuomo said.
There is a scale to the teachers’ ratings – highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective. Parents are given a very general idea of the effectiveness of a school’s teaching staff by disclosing the number of teachers in each rating category.
Initially, Cuomo’s bill was shelved after legislative leaders failed to reach an agreement. But a last-minute push on Tuesday sealed the victory for teacher unions.
Without any law limiting disclosure, all public school teachers’ evaluations by name would be available to the public. Supporters praise the idea of providing anonymity to teachers.
“Finding the balance between students’ needs, parents’ rights, and teachers’ rights is what this bill does,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said.
Although a handful of Democrats and teachers unions are willing to pass the bill, it has not gained much traffic amongst the Senate’s Republican majority.
Scott Reif, spokesman for the Republican majority, said early Tuesday that a consensus has yet to be reached and that the debate is still ongoing.
“At this time, there is no agreement to pass the governor’s bill,” he said. “Discussions with the governor will continue.”