Huffpost Education

Michael Bloomberg Announces Effort To Call New York City Parents, Deliver Teacher Evaluations

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Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg

Parents of New York, beware: The mayor will be calling you.

New York's state legislature passed a law Thursday that would prevent school districts from publishing teachers' performance scores for all the world to see. Instead, if parents want to know how their teachers rank on standardized test scores, they have to make a special request.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was livid. He's made access to teacher data a personal crusade. Influenced by his decades working in private business, he's promised to turn the teaching profession into corporate-world shape. Foiled by the legislature, he revealed his next steps on the radio Friday, the New York Post reports.

"Let me tell you what we're going to do," Bloomberg said on the WOR radio show. "We are going to have our schools call every single parent. We're talking about fourth to eighth grade... We will tell you, you are entitled to this information and if you want it say yes right now and we will send it to you."

Bloomberg then revised, saying that teacher evaluations could be delivered to parents on the spot. The city serves about 1.1 million students across 1,700 schools.

"I think we can give it to them right on the phone as well," he said. "So we'll make sure every parent gets the information whether they would have called or not."

The shield bill, whose passage 118-17 in the Assembly prompted Bloomberg's announcement, was introduced by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a compromise on the divisive issue of whether to release teacher's value added scores, the New York Daily News reports. Value added scores rate a teacher's effectiveness by how much he or she has improved student test scores.

Teachers' value added scores previously became public information following a controversial court ruling. Under the shield bill, parents must put in a special request to see data on teacher performance.

Furthermore, they are permitted to see only the data for teachers currently instructing their children, not for teachers their children may have in the future, according to Gotham Schools.

Teachers' unions -- who say value-added scores are poor measures of teacher quality -- fought to keep the evaluations unavailable to the public.

Others, including Bloomberg, have insisted on full disclosure on teacher performance data, invoking the public's right to know and the need for more accountability. Bloomberg fought unsuccessfully to defeat the bill.

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