2012-04-20 / Editorial/Opinion

Double-Standard Riles City Workers

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg first took office more than 10 years ago, he promised the “most transparent government” in the history of New York. He crowed that he values the public’s right to know and would keep no secrets from the electorate. As a defender of the people’s right to know, Bloomberg and his administration have done everything they can to make sure that ratings for classroom teachers are made public, even when the Department of Education itself admits that the margin for error in these ratings comes to 30 points plus or minus. What that means is that a teacher with a 50 rating might well have a true rating anywhere between 20 and 70. The mayor thinks it’s wonderful that parents have that flawed information. On the other hand, the mayor and his administration have been fighting tooth and nail to keep secret a continuing evaluation of the city’s 911 emergency system that is rumored to be critical of the operation that Bloomberg and his managers just spent $2.1 billion to overhaul. The mayor contends that it is “in the public interest” to keep the report and the information contained inside its pages from the public. “You can’t take a working paper where nobody has checked the facts and just put it out,” the mayor said. We wonder then, why he could push to put out an admittedly flawed report on teacher scores and try and hide another report, which has not yet been shown to be flawed, from the public. We’ll tell you how. The push to print the teacher scores is another skirmish in the battle to demonize teachers and their union. In the other, he is trying to maintain his image and his legacy as the perfect manager by hiding his flaws under the guise of protecting the public. He can’t have it both ways. If the public has the right to see the flawed teacher ratings, they also have the right to see the 911 report – flawed or not. A judge told Bloomberg last week that he has to release the report. So far, he has not. And, he probably never will, at least not without a fight to the very end.

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