NY1 recently obtained the ratings of 1,485 city principals from the 2010-11 school year and learned that 94 percent received a satisfactory rating or better. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
Parents, teachers and even the mayor will say that a good school requires a good leader. And according to performance reviews by the DOE, almost every city principal is doing a good job.
Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, NY1 obtained 1,485 principals' ratings from last school year.
When it comes to meeting expectations, 69 percent substantially exceeded or exceeded them, 24 percent met them, and just 6 percent partially or did not meet expectations.
The ratings are similar to a breakdown from the year before, although figures are slightly improved, with small bumps in high ratings and even fewer administrators rated failures.
And although city officials frequently complain how few teachers get poor ratings, as Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott did last week when he said that more than 97 percent of teachers get "satisfactory ratings," they rarely mention that 94 percent of principals also pass.
That may be partly because the city has been battling to get student test score results included in teachers' evaluations but won that fight with principals in 2007.
In fact, 85 percent of a principal's rating is based on the academic performance of students, which is judged in large part by standardized test results. The rest is based on compliance with laws and policies.
So as long as test scores go up, an administrator is virtually guaranteed a good score.
But that's set to change. Ironically, just as teachers are set to be judged by test scores for the first time, new principal evaluations will rely less on test score data.
Educators 4 Excellence, a policy group run by teachers, studied the issue and says that's a good thing.
"The number one reason that teachers site for leaving a school is dissatisfaction with the administration," said Luke Goodwin of Educators 4 Excellence. "So all the things that principals do in terms of setting that culture at the school is essential for making sure that teachers want to be there and that they can actually really be effective in terms of teaching the students. So we want to see an evaluation that factors in that qualitative measure, as well as the quantitative measures."