The UFT has not been a fan of releasing the Education Department's teacher ratings to the public, and now we have an idea why. According to the test, teacher Pamela Flanagan got a zero as an English instructor. However, she actually teaches Math and Science at Tompkins Square Middle School, and rating based on the test scores of 30 students rate her as an "average" math teacher, even though eight of those students were never in her class. UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, "We have broken tests being put into an unreliable formula." And an expensive one; the assessments cost the city $5.5 million.
The UFT are attempting to prevent the records from being released to the public after a few news organizations filed a Freedom of Information Law request, saying that there have been over 200 calls from teachers reporting errors. For instance, the assessment rated one teacher as "below average" in 2008, even though she was out on maternity leave. Flanagan said, "Giving [parents] a report that has me teaching the wrong subject, the wrong students and the wrong kind of classroom is not going to help them to understand anything about how effective I am as a teacher."
However, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says that of the 12,000 reports, less than 1% of teachers found errors. The Mayor has pushed for teacher tenure and layoffs to be tied to student performance, saying, "The only thing worse than having to lay off teachers would be laying off great teachers instead of failing teachers." City lawyers also argue that the public has the right to know how their money is being spent. Who cares if it's paying for reports littered with errors, at least we'll know!