Assembly Speaker Silver this week addressed the issue of teacher evaluations. He said he is leaning toward restricting public access to them. The issue has been the topic of media and legislators' attention in the wake of tabloid publication of New York City teachers "value-added" scores, which were computed as part of a pilot project. The tabloids sued to get the scores, setting off widespread debate about the proper use and reporting of evaluations and possible legal or legislative remedies.
Iannuzzi noted that the teacher evaluation process was designed to benefit students by improving teaching skills. Abusing the confidentiality of personnel records is in fact "an abuse of the public trust," Iannuzzi said.
"The issue out there today is one of tabloids making a decision to use the shaming of teachers to sell papers in a process that could damage students rather than benefit them," he said. "It's clearly not acceptable and we'll do everything to fight against it. We are fiercely opposed to that going forward." A community has a right to have a clear picture of how well their school as an entity and their school district as an entity are performing -- "that's a legitimate request," Iannuzzi said, and includes the kind of composite information contained in School Report Cards. "But exposing an individual's personnel records violates the trust and violates the purpose of APPR."