Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Governor Cuomo signs legislation on public disclosure of teacher evaluations that protects teachers' right to privacy and parents' right to know


Governor Cuomo signs legislation on public disclosure of teacher evaluations that protects teachers' right to privacy and parents' right to know
Chapter 68 of the Law of 2012

On June 25, 2012 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation that will require the public disclosure of teacher evaluation data. The Governor said that this new law, which takes effect July 1, 2012, “ensures that parents and the general public can assess how schools across New York are performing.”

According to the Governor, this new law requires school districts and BOCES to fully disclose their evaluation results to the public and require requires the State Education Department to post and make widely available important data that will allow the public to analyze and compare how schools are performing. School districts and BOCES will also be required to notify and fully disclose to parents and legal guardians the final specific ratings and composite evaluation scores of the teachers and principals to which their student is assigned.

The law amends §3012-c of the Education Law by adding a new subdivision, Subdivision 10, to read as follows:

10. Each school district and board of cooperative educational services shall fully disclose and release to the public and the department the final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores from the annual professional performance reviews of its teachers and principals as provided in this subdivision.

 a. The commissioner shall fully disclose professional performance review data for teachers and principals in each school district and board of cooperative educational services on the department website and in any other manner to make such data widely available to the public. Such data shall be suitable for research, analysis and comparison of professional performance review data for teachers and principals. Such public disclosure shall include but not be limited to the final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores by school district for principal evaluation data, by school building for teacher evaluation data and, within each district and school building, by class, subject and grade; final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores by region, district wealth, district need category, student enrollment, type of school (i.e. elementary, middle and high school), student need (e.g., poverty level), and district spending; final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores by the percentage or number of teachers and principals in each final quality rating category, moving to a higher rating category than the previous year, moving to a lower rating category than the previous year, and retained in each rating category; and data on tenure granting and denial based on the final quality rating categories.

b. Each school district and board of cooperative educational services shall fully disclose and release to the parents and legal guardians of a student the final quality rating and composite effectiveness score for each of the teachers and for the principal of the school building to which the student is assigned for the current school year upon the request of such parents and legal guardians. The governing body of each school district and board of cooperative educational services shall provide conspicuous notice to parents and legal guardians of the right to obtain such information. Parents and legal guardians may review and receive such data in any manner, including by phone or in person; shall receive an oral or written explanation of the composite effectiveness scoring ranges for final quality ratings; and be offered opportunities to understand such scores in the context of teacher evaluation and student performance. Reasonable efforts shall be made to verify that any such request is a bona fide request by a parent or guardian entitled to review and receive such data pursuant to this paragraph.

c. The department and each school district and board of cooperative educational services shall ensure that any release to the public of annual professional performance review data, or any other data that is used as a component of annual professional performance reviews, does not include personally identifying information for any teacher or principal, provided, however, that nothing shall impair the right of parents and legal guardians to review and receive the final quality rating and composite effectiveness score of individual teachers and principals as provided in paragraph b of this subdivision. Annual professional performance reviews of individual teachers and principals shall not be subject to disclosure pursuant to article six of the public officers law.

d. Nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit the department from collecting such data and materials from school districts and boards of cooperative educational services as is necessary to carry out its functions and duties, including its responsibilities related to the federal Race to the Top program.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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