Many Parents' Opinions Of Public Schools Unaffected By Published Teacher Rankings
City parents looking to find out how their child's public school teachers rank after controversial teacher data reports were released last week have plenty of ways to find the information, but an informal survey on Staten Island showed many are not bothering to look. Borough reporter Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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Robert Perkins, a parent at P.S. 18, was the only one at the West Brighton elementary school who told NY1 on Tuesday he actually took the time to check out various media websites listing Department of Education rankings on thousands of teachers according to how well their students did on standardized tests.
He said he is taking the information about his son's teachers with a grain of salt.
"It seemed to be different from the [New York] Post and the [New York Daily] News. I don't understand that," he said. "I don't know where they get that information from."
NY1, the New York Times and several other news organizations posted the rankings online after suing for them under the Freedom of Information Law.
While Perkins said he was satisfied with the ratings of his son's teachers, his confusion in reading the so-called "teacher report cards" is not unique.
The Department of Education did not create an official database, so media outlets have come up with various ways to present the numbers.
Some parents told NY1 they think the information is helpful.
"It's nice to see how the teachers are doing, the same way you get the report cards for the kids, so you basically have an idea what's going on," said Roy Dinkle, a parent of a student at P.S. 29.
Many others said even if their child's teacher got a poor rating, they were not so sure it would mean anything. They pointed out the data is several years old and said they can judge first-hand whether a teacher is effective or not.
"If you're going to read it, base your opinion on experience, more so than just reading those numbers or reading those letters. Because the proof is in the pudding," said Patti Ann Kelly, a parent of a student at P.S. 29.
"I know how it is in the school and it's a great school, so that's why I make my decision based on experience, not what's written in the paper," said Cindy Migliore, the parent of a student at P.S. 29.
In fact, of the parents who told NY1 they had not looked at the ratings yet, most said they were not sure they ever will.