Poll Shows Strong Backing For Teacher Rating Release

By Jill Colvin on March 14, 2012 1:08pm 

A pre-K teacher hands out stickers as a reward to students who put their hands on their head.
A pre-K teacher hands out stickers as a reward to students who put their hands on their head.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

MANHATTAN — Voters overwhelmingly support the release of controversial teacher evaluation data that rates teachers by name, despite concerns about the validity of the figures, a new poll shows.

 A majority of parents — 59 percent — said they approve of the city’s release of the data, versus 36 percent who felt the release was a bad idea, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

But parents also expressed skepticism about the data, with 52 percent of those surveyed saying they believe the evaluations were flawed.

Voters were also split about the impact the ratings should have. A majority of voters polled, 54 percent, agreed that teachers who scored well on the evaluations should receive higher pay. On the other hand, 55 percent of voters said they opposed firing teachers because they scored poorly.

"Those teacher evaluation rankings are suspect, voters think. But, whatever their opinion of the validity of the numbers, voters would reward high scorers,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Maurice Carroll in a statement.

“Should low scorers be fired? Not so fast, New Yorkers say,” he added.

Voters were also asked to weigh in on Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who had voiced concerns about the release of the data that experts agreed was seriously flawed.

Forty-three percent of voters said they approve of Walcott's job performance conpared to 31 percent who disapprove — a significant jump from last year and the chancellor’s highest rating since he took office.

Walcott’s approval was even higher among public school parents, 54 percent of whom approved of his performance compared to 37 percent who disapproved.

Voters were also asked to weigh in on the city's contoversial restaurant letter grading system, which many owners have criticized as too strict.

An overwhelming 82 percent of voters said they approve of the grades, with nearly 70 percent saying they consider the grades when deciding where to eat.

“A lot of restaurant owners said those letter grades are unfair, but New Yorkers give the program an A,” Carroll said.

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An analysis of teacher evaluation data shows where many of the best teachers in the city are located.
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DNAinfo/Tracy Prussin

The poll of 964 voters, which was conducted from March 6 to 11, has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

Interactive
An analysis of teacher evaluation data shows where some of the worst teachers in the city are located
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DNAinfo/Tracy Prussin

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