Voters favor the release of teacher ratings but Q-poll finds voters consider controversial rankings ‘flawed’

New York City voters favored the release of controversial teacher ratings but also believe the numbers are “flawed,” a new poll finds.

The Quinnipiac poll, released Wednesday, shows 58% approved of the release of the rankings while 38% disapproved.

But at the same time, just one in five voters “trust” the results, with 46% saying the ratings were “flawed.”

An even higher percentage of parents with kids in public school — 52% — question the results.

“Those teacher evaluation rankings are suspect, voters think,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The ratings given to nearly 18,000 teachers from 2007 to 2010 are based on students’ state test scores. The city used a complicated calculation to determine whether a teacher improved their students’ scores as much as expected, factoring in demographics.

The majority of voters --55%-- don’t want to see teachers with low ratings fired, but 54% favor rewarding high-scorers.

“Whatever their opinion of the validity of the numbers, voters would reward high scorers. Should low scorers be fired? Not so fast, New Yorkers say,” Carroll said.

Meanwhile, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott's public approval rating has jumped 9 points in the last five weeks to its highest point since his appointment last spring -- 43% now approve of his job performance, while 31% disapprove.

Among parents, his popularity soared to a 54% approval rating, up 13 points.

At the same time, New Yorkers still trust the teachers union more than the mayor to “protect the interests” of city students.

Half picked the union over the mayor while just 38% favor the mayor.

Despite those numbers, Bloomberg administration officials defended the city’s education reforms.

“As much as 90% of public school parents support the mayor and chancellor’s ambitious school reform proposals, and even 74% of union households agree that teachers should be considered based on performance and not seniority,” said mayoral spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua. “What’s more, support for Chancellor Walcott has grown to an all-time high and is strongest among public school parents.”

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew saidthe poll’s results should make the mayor rethink his policies.

“If I were Mayor Bloomberg, I’d be asking myself why only one in five voters trusts the information my administration just released on thousands of teachers,” said Mulgrew.

“I’d also be asking myself why, after years of touting my alleged successes at reforming schools and demonizing teachers, parents still overwhelming trust the teachers’ union rather than me to protect the interests of school children.”

NY Daily News